Sony PS3 to Get Launch Day Software Update

Sony Computer Entertainment will offer the first software update for its PlayStation 3 games console on Saturday simultaneously with the start of sales of the device.

The firmware update will add support for the PlayStation Network online service and be offered as a free download. It will upgrade the software from version 1.0 to 1.1, SCEI said on Thursday. Users will be able to access the update from a menu item in the PlayStation 3.

Sony PlayStation 3 Console and Controller
Sony PlayStation 3

In late November, the company plans to offer a firmware update for its PlayStation Portable (PSP) games device. The update will bump the firmware to version 3.0 and add PlayStation Network support. With the new firmware in both devices, the PSP will be able to access contents stored on the PlayStation 3 via a wireless LAN connection using a system Sony has dubbed "Remote Play." It will also make it possible to purchase and download PSP games content.

The PlayStation 3, Sony’s first new console in six years, will make its global debut in Japan on Saturday. Long queues are expected outside electronics retailers because supply of the device is limited. Sony had originally planned to have about 200,000 of the consoles available in Japan for the launch, but this has been scaled back to around 100,000 due to component shortages.

The console will come in two versions. One with a 60GB hard-disk drive will also include wireless LAN support and will cost about 59,980 yen (US$510), while a second version with a 20GB hard disk and no wireless LAN will cost about 49,980 yen.

International sales of the console will kick off on Nov. 17 with launches in North America, Hong Kong and Taiwan. European consumers won’t be able to get their hands on a console until around March 2007, according to Sony’s current plans. The company didn’t disclose international availability plans for the software update, but it has previously rolled out such updates in quick succession to the Japan launch.

-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau)

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