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PlayStation Firmware Interview: Faster Updates, Fewer For 2008


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359w ago - The interview was with Eric Lempel, director of network operations for Sony Computer Entertainment America, who I spoke with last week. Lempel is not just responsible for the PSP PC store. He's also behind any of the firmware upgrades SCEA issues for the PS3 and PSP.

Lempel and I mostly talked about the store during our interview, but late in our chat the topic of firmware came up. Why have there been so many firmware upgrades this year? What is Sony's current firmware strategy? And what kind of features are coming?

No, he did not say when customizable XMB will be implemented. But he was open nonetheless and suggests a promising, more user-friendly future is in the works. Here's an excerpt from our conversation, the rest of which follows below:

Multiplayer: There've been a lot [of PlayStation 3 firmware upgrades] and it's certainly improved the machine. I can't say that I love every time I turn my system on – well not every time I turn my system on – but when I turned my system on last night to check something needed an upgrade already. I just got 2.0.

Lempel: Right. Right. We're trying to certainly cut down on the amount of times we do it. But on occasion when we've got these good features ready to go, let's give them out to the consumers. Let's get them out there. We definitely understand that it does happen frequently and that can be somewhat annoying to some users.

Read on for our full exchange.

Multiplayer: I was wondering if this whole PSP PC store was just a way for you to be able to write a blog post that didn't involve firmware upgrades.

Eric Lempel, Director of PlayStation Network Operations: [laughs] That was a way so that somebody couldn't say to me 'we want the in-game XMB.' Or that I could just put one out and not hear that.[Editor's Note: At this point we talked about firmware for a bit, which I'll cover in a future post]

Multiplayer: It's coming right? 2-point-something, someday?

Lempel: We hear you. We hear everyone. Yeah. There's some challenges, but we definitely hear you.

Multiplayer: How many more firmware upgrades are we getting this year, Eric?

Lempel: Oh, let's see.

Multiplayer: Where are we now? We have a month to go?

Lempel: You might see a couple more this year that will have some cool features. I'll just say that. We're hoping to release a couple more and maybe by a couple, one for each platform that will have some good features, some good stuff that hopefully people will enjoy. [NOTE: This interview took place on November 29, the day a new PSP firmware update was issued.]

Multiplayer: I kid you not, I'm considering in one of my Year-End things maybe a run-down of all of the firmware upgrades on the PS3.

Lempel: I think that would be great.

Multiplayer: There've been a lot and it's certainly improved the machine. I can't say that I love every time I turn my system on – well not every time I turn my system on – but when I turned my system on last night to check something needed an upgrade already. I just got 2.0.

Lempel: Right. Right. We're trying to certainly cut down on the amount of times we do it. But on occasion when we've got these good features ready to go, let's give them out to the consumers. Let's get them out there. We definitely understand that it does happen frequently and that can be somewhat annoying to some users.

Multiplayer: The servers do seem to be getting faster. I've noticed that. My downloads of those firmware upgrades do seem to be speeding up.

Lempel: Yeah, and the process has been improved a bit. People may not have noticed this, but if you look at the process under a microscope you no longer have to hook up the controller to the PS3. Little things like that to make it easier and faster. We'll continue to work on other ways of making it easier and faster and we'll probably roll those out some time next year.



Stay tuned for more PS3 Hacks and PS3 CFW news, follow us on Twitter and be sure to drop by the PS3 Hacks and PS3 Custom Firmware Forums for the latest PlayStation 3 scene updates and homebrew releases!

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