The latest PlayStation 3 system software update, version 3.40, has been announced and is toting some big and new features along side PlayStation Plus: most notably, Facebook integration.
Abbygail Reyes, of Sony Computer Entertainment America states that partnering with Facebook "builds upon what was previously launched with Trophies and the ability to share purchases from the PlayStation Store," by allowing more interaction between PlayStation 3s and the social network's website.
In a press-release, the application was explained to allow PlayStation Network profiles to be displayed on Facebook accounts. It also alerts you to what Facebook friends have PSN accounts and will then send friend requests to them. Facebook accounts will have a slight interface change with the addition of "the PlayStation Network application tab on their Facebook Profile," and the ability to " view the PlayStation Network friends' online status."
An other updated feature has to do with the Photo Gallery of the XrossMediaBar. Not only will pictures now be uploadable to Facebook, but PlayStation gamers will be able to "browse and comment on photos," on the social networking site and other sites such as "Picasa Web Album."
The updated Photo Gallery goes on to allow sharing and viewing of content between PSN profiles.
A new video feature has also been added to the XrossMediaBar that, again, interacts with Facebook.com.
"[The] Video Editor and Uploader is a new function found on the XrossMediaBar," Stated Reyes. "Which enables users to edit, save and upload video files stored on the PS3 system to sites such as Facebook or YouTube."
These new features seem to further reinforce Sony's slogan for the PlayStation 3: It only does every thing; However, how simple it is to use the Facebook interaction will be a huge factor to its success. The photo posting and video editing features will also have to prove easier to use than computer based counter parts or else these additions to the XcrossMediaBar will serve little purpose.
An other newbie to the PSN will be the ability to "rate PlayStation Store [content] purchased with one to five star ratings."
The later of these updates seems like it is a little late to the party: Xbox Live Arcade has had a rating system such as this for a long time now and a similar system has been a major reason to the success of indie games for the iPhone and iTouch platforms. Still, better late than never. Now maybe some of the praise-deserving PSN titles and Minis wont be overlooked and glanced over in favor for more hyped-up games.
Hopefully this rating system will also be carried over to the PSP: Sony announced that "system software update (v6.30) for the PSP system will launch simultaneously with PS3 system software update (v3.40), adding PlayStation Plus compatibility as well as other minor features."
Just how compatible the PSP will be with PlayStation Plus has not been announced and neither have these "other minor features."
Ideally, the update will allow PSP owners to interact with their Facebook accounts in the same way that the PS3 will be able to while also offering the majority of PSPlus features; However, the term "minor features," dissuades hope of that (we can still dream though).