Sony shows off in-game XMB in first part of firmware v2.40 walkthrough

The time is at hand, fellow PS3 owners. First, we saw a purported list of the v2.40 update’s features, and a proposal of a release date: three weeks. The very next day, a tip arose from the murky depths of NeoGAF; it said that we’d see an official announcement and a video walkthrough from Sony on June 30th. It’s funny just how true some rumors turn out to be. The forumite over at Le GAF was proven correct early this morning: shortly before 3 AM EDT, a five-and-a-half-minute video walkthrough of how in-game XMB will work was posted on the Official PlayStation Blog (see above). This is Part 1 of the walkthrough; the next video, which will demo the new Trophies feature, is coming “shortly.”

The walkthrough cautions that this isn’t necessarily the way it’s going to look or work in the release of the update, but the video was put up to give us “a good idea” of what to expect when the update hits. First, Lempel brings up the XMB while playing Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (an interesting note is that hitting the “Home” button to access the XMB doesn’t automatically pause the game, so you can have it running in the background). We’ll see the full XMB, as it would appear upon powering on the PS3. All the capabilities — e.g., messaging/friends list, download manager, and settings — are available.

As I predicted, having the Game tab of the XMB available means that you’ll be able to launch games directly from the XMB without having to manually quit out of the game you’re currently playing. Photo thumbnails show up, but if you want to view them fullscreen (e.g., in a slideshow), the system will ask you to quit out to the XMB. The great thing about having the Settings tab accessible is the ability to set up your Bluetooth headset from within a game. Sony has also added a clock, with date, to the in-game XMB.

The last major feature is a long-awaited one: music that’s on your PS3’s hard drive can be played instead of the in-game soundtrack. The playback tool offers standard functions (change tracks, stop, repeat, shuffle, volume control). Finally, v2.40 will bring a Google Search function to the XMB’s Network tab, just as in the PSP v4.00 firmware. Curiously, Lempel says that in-game XMB will “support the majority of games available for PS3,” but frankly, I’m not worried about that right now. All I know is that seeing v2.40 in action was so beautiful that it nearly brought a tear to my eye…

[Via PlayStation.Blog]

Samit Sarkar