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IGN: PS3 Menu Examination |

IGN have had a very detailed analysis of PS3’s XMB menu system running through the options under each section.

This is the option you will come into first contact with, and thankfully it sounds fairly easy to use. It shares a lot of similarities with the “User” functions you find on most modern PCs- password protection and various customisation options can be found here. Also like a PC, the main user of the console becomes the administrator- this is good for parents as it means they can restrict the content that their children can access. IGN also expects options for the PlayStation Wallet and online account setup to be here on final machines. For now icons are limited to Sony’s selection choice, but you would imagine personal images will get added at some point.

This appears to be the most finalised part of the system. You can create interesting slideshows of whatever photos are stored on your HDD. It is pretty similar to the PSP really, just with a cosmetic upgrade and the ability to sort your photos- one of the biggest gripes with the PSP’s multimedia functionality.

Again, shades of PSP functionality here, but improved. The PS3 runs a visualiser and whilst only one was available at the time more will downloadable in the future. ATRAC, WAV, AAC and MP3 are supported, and, if the PSP is anything to go by, WMA will be available eventually. It appears as though you can navigate away from the music bar to look at your photos and that your music will keep playing.

Similar to PSP again. The big difference here is that the PS3 shows realtime thumbnail videos of each video. Unlike the PSP full-screen, ie. 1080p, playback is possible on the PS3. The playback features are similar to the PSPs, which themselves are similar to PS2’s DVD playback menus. The PS3 can also stream content to a PSP, at first locally and then internationally, this is, in my opinion a killer application; the only thing that cannot be streamed is game data. DVD upscaling however is not included, hopefully this will be rectified in a firmware update.

Put a game into your PS3 and, again like the PSP, your XMB will divert you to the games menu and load the game’s personalised background and music to the screen. It also sounds as though downloadable playback has been necessarily simplified with all your downloaded items appearing in the menu rather than in a sub-section. A new feature, the Game Data Utility stores your games’ hard drive caches (something that shortens loading). Some games take up a large space, others less- expect load-time impressions in the future! PS1 and PS2 games running on PS3 will not be enhanced.

The PS3’s web browser is its greatest asset here- 6 windows can be opened at a time from demonstrations I have seen. Flash is supported, so YouTube users out there are in luck! The PS Store is essentially the same browser accessing PS3 download pages. The options seem suitable enough and navigation sounds fairly easy too. The functionality here is pretty similar to what you see on any web-based shop from Amazon to Best Buy, one particularly useful feature sounds like the ability to buy virtual gift certificates. Games in the store will be $14.99 or less. According to Gamefront the following downloadable titles will be available at the Japanese launch.

#Blast Factor (Sony, Action)
#flOw (Sony, Action)
#Lemmings 2 (Sony, Puzzle)
#Kazuo (Sony, Puzzle)
#Puzzle (Sony, Puzzle)
#Mainichi Issho (Sony, Action)
#Ridge Racer 7 Demo (Bandai Namco, Rennspiel)

PS1 games:

#Biohazard Director’s Cut (Capcom)
#Konami Antics MSX Collection Vol. 1 (Konami)
#Konami Antics MSX Collection Vol. 2 (Konami)
#Bishi Bashi Special (Konami)
#Arc The Lad (Sony)
#Jumping Flash! (Sony)
#Everybody’s Golf 2 (Sony)
#Silent Bomber (Bandai Namco)
#Tekken 2 (Bandai Namco)
#Mr. Driller (Bandai Namco)

Impressed? I am! We also know Resistance and MotorStorm will be downloadable demos Stateside.

This is pretty standard fayre to what you would find on the major PC messaging programmes. Useful features include a “Players met” list and a “Ban players” option. Pop-ups inform you of messages and log-ons. There are still a lot of questions regarding this mode though, so expect more information to trickle out around launch.

Finally the part for the AV enthusiasts out there! There’s a lot of details on IGN, but the stand out points are:
#Firmware updates.
#Naming your PS3.
#A dictionary for text entry.
#Bluetooth device registering (mice, keyboards, headsets, phones, Blackberrys 😉 )
#Mouse, keyboard and camera settings.
#Custom resolution settings.
#A whole host of audio output options.
#Network options.

This made for an interesting read. Having just received a PSP for my birthday it is interesting to see where Sony is taking the concept for PS3. I hope some of these features get transferred over!

IGN: PS3 Menu Examination

  • ehandlr

    Awesome…I can’t say one bad thing about this information.

  • Martin Hansen

    I agree that PSP-PS3 connectivity is a killer app, especially when you can do it worldwide. Hopefully I can also use my Sony Ericsson P990 as well. It does already support LocationFree, another product from Sony. I see Sony making a lot of effort to puzzle all of their divisions tightly together. Like using the X media bar in accross devices (PSX, PSP, PS3, TV’s) And inclusion of music/video shop in PS3.

  • So far, the PS3 is not a location free device.

  • The PS3 can do everything the location free can “except” the live TV part. From what I understand. I’m really excited to try out the PS3 to PSP options. And I’m glad to see Lemmings 2 available at launch I want to get that for my girl friend.

  • hotcarl

    #Bluetooth device registering (mice, keyboards, headsets, phones, Blackberrys 😉 )
    #Mouse, keyboard and camera settings.

    That’s good news…

    I hadn’t heard anything about mouse support for awhile….
    any games that take advantage of this? That could be a HUGE advantage over the other consoles for fans of FPS and RTS games on the PC.

    hot carl

  • PJ

    I am wondering how you guys think the PS3 interface compares to the 360 interface. I own a 360 and when I look at this PS3 interface it seems very basic…and almost boring. I am not trying to start a flame war, but does anyone have thoughts on the PS3 interface vs. the 360 interface?

  • Personally I like the minimal design. I have a PSP and I’m quite used to the XMB interface.

  • PJ

    I assume you can add background pictures like the 360 – that will make things a little nicer.

  • PJ’s right, it does look kinda boring compared to the 360’s. Hope you can customize it.

  • I didnt very much use the 360 Interface yet, only at EBGames once or twice, but I already own a PSP, so I am pretty familiar with the PS3 XMB.

    To say it simple, I think, the 360 interface is like windows or a windows smartphone. You need to click twice/thrice to access vital info, but on the other hand, on the PSP all data is accessed via maximal 2 clicks.

    The simplicity makes it work. Teach an older guy how to use the 360 interface (I like to give you my brother as an example), this will take LONG (because hes not interested at all), but I didnt even need to bother with showing him or his GF the PSP interface (he had got one himself, after seeing mine :P).

    This is one factor, why I prefer Linux over Windows AND this is another reason, why I will never own a Windows based smartphone (I prefer palmOS, because of its simplicity).

    Maybe it looks “dull”, maybe it isnt as fresh as the 360, but its USABLE! And to tell you, or rather ask you, how much time do you spend in the options menu of your console? Compared to game and video time… Slim to none.

    I find it good, that Sony brings the continuity into it (from PSX to PSP to Bravia tvs to the PS3). Other firms (like MS) dont do that. Thats another reason, why for example Mercedes Benz drivers will most likely buy another one. Continuity (in the same car range, most vital knobs and buttons NEVER get rearranged). Windows on the other hand changes RADICALLY from iteration to iteration. You get used to one version for nearly five years, and now there’s that Vista coming along, which is so much different, even I have problems finding stuff (like changing network settings). And I am pretty good at that stuff (having used GUI OSes since the Amiga with the workbench, then Windows 3.11 till nowadays, with XP and Gnome).

  • The XMB interface is more straightforward than the blades system used by the 360 in my opinion. The blade system can be a bit convoluted. Settings are all over the place, instead of one centralized location like in the XMB. With XMB, organization and simplicity reign supreme.

    I dont think its the place of an OS to be “exciting” in an of itself. Sony’s interface is more about getting to the functions and content you are there for in the first place. It isnt visually wowing, but its slick, and doesnt make more of itself than it should. Its an OS, its supposed to facilitate what you want to do, not be what you want to do. If a GUI is designed correctly, it will be efficient and intuitive. Things should be where you THINK they should be. It should be a a gateway to your entertainment, not a roadblock.

    I dont know how many times I’ve sat with my cousin as he tried to find something in XBLA’s notoriously unwieldy organization. Or spent way too long trying to look for a certain setting, because he had to search the numerous places in which the settings are located. I commend microsoft for its attempt at making something that is visually flashy, but in the end, its being easy and functional thats important.

  • Oh, BTW….

    The mouse support is most likely for linux, although I did hear Ted Price say once that mouse control was something he had as an option to use, but decided against it (usage, and unfair advantage for pc fps users were cited as the reasons). So techinically, games normally not considered console games, can be made for the ps3. For instance, one could make a PS3 graphically enhanced version of Sim City and bundle it with a cheap usb optical mouse (to ensure all users have one). Technically, since the ps3 supports mice and keyboards, no pc genre is out of its reach.

    Whether anyone jumps on this, remains to be seen.

  • PJ

    Excellent responses Segitz and bobeotm. It will be interesting to see how these interfaces continue to evolve. For instance, the 360 Spring Dashboard Update made things quite a bit smoother than the “out of the box” Dashboard. Background downloading, improved menus, etc were all added. I am very much looking forward to the Fall Dashboard Update which should be announced any day now. I wonder how Sony will handle XMB Updates. Any thoughts?

    Users spend more time on the 360 Dashboard than you guys seem to think. For instance while playing Texas Hold’em last night I checked out the gamer profiles for each of my opponents during slow times in the game. I also can turn on Music, change settings, add friends, chat, text message, etc from the Dashboard ALL while playing a game. It is very handy. Another example – when my wife and I are watching movies and she gets up to go to the kitchen I’ll just pull up the Dashboard to see whats happening/whos online/is there anything new, etc. Comments?

    Alright, back to work for me…

  • matt

    I use the 360 Dashboard a ton. It takes probally 15-30 minutes to get to know it. That isn’t that bad. Once you figure out the setup it is very easy. For the most part I am only on two blades 98% of the time. The only thing I found confusing was Arcade Demos and Full Game Demos. They are in seperate blades.

    I don’t know if I will like the PS3 interface. I haven’t used anything like it before. Some will prefer one over the other for a million different reasons.