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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