Sony PS3 update adds Facebook and video editing

Sony has updated its Playstation 3 console to firmware version 3.40, adding a new Facebook app and basic video editing among a raft of other tweaks and improvements.

There's also a new subscription-based service called Playstation Plus which, for $50 a year, offers full game "try before you buy" demos, automatic downloads, PS Store discounts, exclusive offers, free downloads, invitations to beta programmes and early access to demos.

A new network-based photo sharing browser allows users to pull pics directly from Facebook or Google's Picasa. The video editor lets users edit footage stored on the console's hard drive and upload it to Facebook or Youtube.

Pretty much all of the update's features allow closer integration with Facebook accounts and build on the social aspects of the Playstation Network.

General consensus on PS3 forums seems to be that, although the new features are very nice, what players really want is cross-game chat and a better web browser, neither of which were forthcoming.

One typical comment reads, "This is an absolutely terrible update. Does Sony even know what a PS3 is? The PS3 is a GAMING SYSTEM. Most people do not buy a PS3 for the photo gallery or to edit videos, they buy it to play games with their friends. It would be a lot easier to do that with cross-game chat or similar features; your updates should be based on facilitating this experience for your gamers, but you decide to update the gallery player?. Sony, you make the dumbest decisions."

For the record, cross-game chat will be impossible for Sony to implement any time soon because, unlike Microsoft, Sony doesn't host all of its game servers, many of them being run by the individual game publishers.