Sony Computer Entertainment America has announced that its PlayStation 3 2.40 system software update, which will add XrossMediaBar (XMB) access in-game and support for its Trophies ranking and rewards system. The firmware update will be available on July 2nd.
In-game XMB access will enable gamers to message their friends and check their friends' online status and profile by hitting the PS-button on their controller.
Adapting to its expanded PlayStation Network community, which SCEA boasts has reached over 9.8 million registered accounts worldwide as of June 2008, Sony will double Friends list capacity to 100 friends.
Oter in-game XMB features include the ability to sign-in to the PlayStation Network, manage PlayStation Store downloads, quit their games, view their media, and access other options from within the settings category.
In addition, the 2.40 update allows developers to now offer personalized background music as an option in their games. With the XMB feature, users will be able to eventually listen to music files stored on their hard drive while playing a game. The new firmware also offers Google-powered Internet search capabilities on the XMB, enabling users to search for terms without having to open the PS3 internet browser.
With the new virtual Trophies, PlayStation 3 users can display their gaming accomplishments in their Trophy Collection and individual profiles. Gamers will be ranked on a level-basis depending on the bronze, silver, gold, and platinum trophies they earn across all games. They can also see how much progress they have made toward the next level and compare their Trophies to their friends'.
PlayStation Network title Super Stardust HD will be the first game to offer Trophies. Sony intends to add Trophies support to the following first-party PlayStation 3 games: Buzz! Quiz TV, LittleBigPlanet, MotorStorm Pacific Rift, NBA 09, Pain, PixelJunk Eden, Resistance 2, SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Confrontation, and Warhawk. Users will be required to download and install game updates for PlayStation Network titles.
SCEA is reportedly "actively working" with developers to add Trophies to new first and third-party titles in the future.
Said SCEA SVP of marketing and the PlayStation Network Peter Dille: "Today's PlayStation 3 experience has evolved significantly from what we debuted at launch, and the 2.40 firmware update will drive the PS3 community experience forward at a time when the platform's momentum is stronger than ever, with the launches of several recent blockbuster titles and other exclusive content on the way."
He continued: "We listen closely to our community, and we're proud to deliver new features that have been among the most requested - XMB access in-game and Trophies. These features provide new ways for the PS3 community to easily connect, communicate and share gaming experiences with one another in and out of games."