Sony Computer Entertainment America will release major system software updates for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable, both due later this month.
The PSP Firmware 5.00 update, which was recently announced for Japan
with an October 16th release, will enable users to connect directly to the PlayStation Store, purchasing and downloading content without having to later transfer the data through a PlayStation 3 or PC.
Notably, Sony began increasing
the number of downloadable PSP games available through its PS Store earlier this year, often releasing more PSP titles per month than downloadable PS1 or PS3 games. Then in June, the company raised its prices
for several PSP titles available on the PS Store by $1-$11.
Furthermore, according to a report
from UK consumer website CVG, Sony Japan will release all of its future UMD games as PS Store downloads, at least in the Japanese territory, starting with Destroy All Heroes 2
on October 15th.
The system's 5.00 update will also include an on-screen QWERTY keyboard for web browsing, a sleep timer for shutting off a PSP during music playback, and video-out enhancements supporting interlace displays and allowing classic PlayStation titles to play at full-screen size on televisions.
The PlayStation 3 Firmware 2.50 update will feature exclusive options for SCEA's Official Bluetooth Headset, such as an on-screen indicator that shows volume, battery charge, and mute functions.
The official headset will now have a a High Quality mode, which is designed to "enable clear and wide-band wireless voice communication." The headset will debut as a pack-in with SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Confrontation
, due to ship later this week.
With the update, PlayStation 3 systems will now have an in-game screenshot capture tool -- titles that support the feature will be announced at a later date. The trophy system has also been improved, with in-game notifications now including specific trophy icons created by the developer and new options for comparing trophies with friends.
Other new features include a video scene search function with thumbnails, an Information Board with direct links to the PlayStation Store, and a Power Save option allowing owners to automatically shut-off their console or controllers after pre-selected periods of inactivity.
"These firmware updates keep both PS3 and PSP in lockstep with consumer expectations for gaming and entertainment, particularly the ability to download PSP games on-the-go, which is a functionality we know consumers can't wait to get their hands on," says SCEA's PlayStation Network Marketing SVP Peter Dille.
He continues: "As we approach our second anniversary with PlayStation 3, it's remarkable to look back at how much the system has evolved and improved, including its critical link to PSP that effectively extends these entertainment capabilities beyond the home."