A guide to PS3’s firmware 2.40

Ahead of the release of the latest eagerly awaited update to the PS3 firmware come these videos, showing and explaining the much demanded features, and they look mighty good indeed.

In the next few days PS3 owners will be able to access their XMB whilst playing a game, send messages, adjust settings and switch directly to a different game. Also, in certain games, it is now possible to play your own music tracks from your HDD.

In the second video (below) we see the much talked about Trophy system detailed — each new game will come with a series of tasks¬†(notice how I didn’t say “Achievements”)¬†that, when achieved, will earn players points that will in turn raise their level. At the moment raising your level will only give you bragging rights, but, and this is just me talking here, hopefully in the future they will give you credits that you can then spend on items that you buy in HOME.

With these improvements and the upcoming movie download service, the PS3’s online experience is creeping up to be on par with Xbox LIVE, except for one crucial thing…it’s free. How long will Microsoft be able to justify charging $50 per year when gamers can get a similar thing for free on a competitors platform? Will they stay on top of their online game and launch new services that would justify the fee?