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PS3 OS Wasn't Final at TGS 81

LifesBlood writes "The PlayStation 3 operating system used at the Tokyo Game Show was apparently not final. Sony confirmed to GameDaily BIZ that the company has been in the process of finalizing it and that just like the Wii's OS, it will be upgradeable in the future." From the article: "We were told that this should not affect PS3 production whatsoever. Moreover, SCEA does not believe that the state of the OS at TGS had anything to do with the system resets or other glitches that some witnessed. Sony reiterated that it was the confined cases and other unfriendly trade show conditions that caused problems with the consoles. In addition, Sony said it has the capability to upgrade the PS3's OS after the console launches through its online network, memory stick files or Blu-ray discs."
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PS3 OS Wasn't Final at TGS

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  • Why would we be worried that the PS3 software isn't ready to go when the hardware specs weren't even final until recently? I mean, software is easy, right? Besides, nobody would mind if they had to update their PS3's operating system to get it to work properly. After all, game consoles don't cost that much that we should expect perfection...
  • by Veilrap ( 875588 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @06:25PM (#16371233)
    Nintendo's controller is better than ours... SIXsux Nintendo's OS is better than ours... um Lets upgrade too!
    • by ClamIAm ( 926466 )
      Yeah, this type of thing has never happened before. Especially not on the 360 or the Xbox. Oh and I'm sure Nintendo and Sony never updated the firmware shipped with the PS2 or Cube as time went on...
      • Oh, and I'm sure Nintendo and Sony and Microsoft never charged $500-$600 for their console, either...
        • by ClamIAm ( 926466 )
          Don't reply to my posts if you're just going to babble on about an unrelated topic. Thanks.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by sirstar ( 789206 )
      Next there going to put 4 ps2 controller connections on the PS3 and claim it was their idea......
  • Is it just me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by varunnangia ( 999363 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @06:27PM (#16371253) Homepage
    ...or wasn't the entire point of video game consoles to avoid the hassles and pains involved in ensuring everything was up-to-date on your computer? As far as it goes, Microsoft's Xbox update process is pretty painless, and if Sony learns from that, theirs should be as well. That said, I really liked not having to update my Famicom's OS.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sqlrob ( 173498 )
      Nope, that's why I went to consoles.

      And I don't want any of my consoles hooked to the net, period. If it needs updates, I likely won't purchase it.
      • Have fun not purchasing any software anymore then.

        Bugs are just a fact of life when dealing with any nontrivial program. Personally I'd rather have the ability to download an update compared to having to just deal with it or worse purchase a disc with the updates (I'm looking at you, Morrowind for Xbox)

        The QA process should still be treated like you can't release future updates, but denying that ability altogether is just stupid.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sqlrob ( 173498 )
          So you're saying I need to wire my house because of the crap Sony et. al want to pull? Wireless doesn't work very well downstairs, not at all near the consoles.

          There's still plenty of PS2/GC/XBox games I need to play, I don't need to go to the next gen for a long time.

          • What I'm saying is plenty of those last-gen games also have bugs. Hell, I can't count the number of times Perfect Dark hard-locked on my N64. If the older systems supported updates, you wouldn't have to deal with them once a patch is released.

            I'd doubt that any game more complex than an early Atari 2600 title can claim to have shipped bug free.
            • by Phisbut ( 761268 )
              Hell, I can't count the number of times Perfect Dark hard-locked on my N64. If the older systems supported updates, you wouldn't have to deal with them once a patch is released.

              They will fix bugs alright, but it all depends on your definition of "bug". If your system can run emulators to have it play games rather than watch UMD movies (*cough* PSP *cough*), then it is a "bug" and you bet it will be "patched" soon. That's the kind of patching they want, not the kind that actually makes the console more usa

              • I know, but you can't blame them for that. It is in fact a bug, and while said bug is unlikely to cause gameplay problems it could be considered a security hole. I install modchips and softmods for alcohol money (there's a lot of people on a college campus who want homebrew) so I have to say this is a wacky theory from way out in left field, but being a widely distributed platform it could possibly become a target for malware.

                Let's consider this scenario. It's unlikely as hell, but entirely possible.
          • Also, assuming you don't want to play online, you can keep playing your next-gen games offline with no updates like you always have. It's just an advantage to have it hooked up. The last numbers I heard had the Xbox 360 pegged at about 50% connected to the internet with about 35% being active members of Xbox Live (a.k.a. paid Gold accounts). Clearly this shows that you don't need to be online with a next-gen console.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by sqlrob ( 173498 )
              More my concern is that console developers will get the "ship then patch" mentality that pervades the PC realm. It already looks to be happening (King Kong too dark on SD, unreadable Dead Rising fonts on SD, Oblivion problems)
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by wolrahnaes ( 632574 )
                I'll give you the King Kong and Dead Rising SD problems, though I'd attribute that to retarded testing procedures at the developer, publisher, and Microsoft QA levels. If they had seriously tested the game on all four supported resolutions as one would expect them to, the problem would have been obvious. The responses I've seen from the developers of both of those games are not indicative of a "patch it later" attitude, rather more of an "oh shit, we forgot to test that!".

                Oblivion problems, well those are
              • You would think with all the 'Q&A' they supposedly do that someone would have turned the console to Standard Definition atleast once in the Q&A faze... I have seen both the problems you are mentioning, another is that their is no 'hole' in Tiger Woods golf in SD. I had planned on updating to a HD display in the future however these bugs have definately sped up my plans.
      • You have a good point there. I bought Prey before finding out it doesn't have split screen death match; it's multiplayer is online only. Wouldn't it be easier to write a split screen death match than deal with networking code et al?
        • by ArwynH ( 883499 )
          Um...No, it isn't.
          • I'm a programmer myself, and I'd rather write split screen than a networked multiplayer.
            • by ArwynH ( 883499 )

              It's not just the programmer that's involved though.

              From the programming perspective the hardest part is the multi-player code after that networking and/or split screen is pretty easy. I suspect the system libraries take care of the hard stuff anyway.

              The main difference with split screen and network is not with the programming it's with the art direction and QA. With a network version the screen is the same as the single player version, so everything can be re-used. With a split screen, the screen real-es

              • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
                Yes but netcode can be even worse since it introduces an entirely new part to the engine. Splitscreen is basically rendering two viewpoints, handling multiple input devices and rearranging the HUD, splitscreen games aren't going to desync, lag or cause other errors network games have had over the years. Problems with splitscreen are obvious, problems with netcode can be a bitch to track down.
    • Re:Is it just me... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Babbster ( 107076 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (bbabnoraa)> on Monday October 09, 2006 @06:36PM (#16371385) Homepage
      I would think the main problem is the implication (who knows if it's true) that the OS hasn't been fully tested (how could it be if the software isn't finalized?). If, for example, the PS3 is released and requires an update out of the box to fix a problem, then the buyer would have to find a way to get that update, such as by connecting the box to the Internet, even if that buyer had no initial intention of doing so. While I recall hearing about X360 hardware problems, I don't remember many (any) complaints about how the software worked out of the box.

      While it's hard to imagine someone spending $500-600 on a PS3 and then not connecting it to the Internet (where, presumably, OS updates would come through automagically), still, if there are showstopping OS bugs left when the PS3 ships then people are [rightly] going to be upset.
      • Presumably Sony could ship firmware updates on Official PlayStation Magazine cover discs for those not wanting to put their PS3 online, else consumers (at least in the UK) could return their box as not being fit for purpose if an out-the-box update was required to make it usable.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Babbster ( 107076 )
          Hardware returns (for at least a month at decent retailers) are pretty easy in the US, too. And, yes, there will be many ways to update the OS (as Sony indicates) besides the Internet. It just seems like another bad sign for a console that already takes an Internet PR beating every week. I would also wonder whether this non-finalized OS affects developers. I'm not sure how Sony is handling their interface, but on the X360 there are parts of the Dashboard (such as music playback, XBL messaging and such)
          • by Lectrik ( 180902 )
            Ah well, as with anything, we won't know jack until people actually have the boxes in their homes.

            Future News from December :
            Sony announces "controller design still not finalized. We should have our heads out of our asses by boxxing day."

            Release week will be a lot of fun for wii onlookers, and hopefully for the people who buy the system, too. :)

            Sorry, had to fix that
        • by phorm ( 591458 )
          Or just attach them to various games. If a game is known to need a hardware update, ship it something that checks the current kernel/firmware version and does an easy update. The big issue would be around
          a) Making sure nobody powers down the unit mid-upgrade (bad)
          b) Making sure the upgrade doesn't create new bugs (really bad)
      • I agree completely. It's one thing to update the online component of the system and quite another to update the OS in order for games to play properly. The former is understandable and acceptable. I don't know if Microsoft periodically updates their xbox live system but it wouldn't bother me if they did. But if I buy a wii and don't happen to have it hooked up to the internet on day one, I'd be ticked if I couldn't play a game I bought.
      • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
        Sony already updates the PSP firmware regularly by putting the update software on the game discs. I don't expect this to end up differently.
    • by brkello ( 642429 )
      No, the point of consoles was that they were cheaper than PCs and easier to develop for because you only had one set of hardware specs. Consoles are becoming more complicated...integrating browsers and online content. Since the OS has become more complicated, there are bound to be bugs and feature add-ons in the future. As far as just playing single player games, it shouldn't be an issue. If any game has a problem with an OS, they would just roll out a patch with the game.
    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      The PSP had a very painless firmware update system. I expect that the PS3 will learn and improve upon that process.

      I fully expect that the pirates / homebrewers will manage to brick a few systems just like they did with the PSP but that will be their own fault.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I really liked not having to update my Famicom's OS.

      As it has become possible to update computer games via the Internet, computer games have become steadily buggier. I don't think this is an accident.

      Expect plenty of shoddy work and disappointment in the next generation of consoles.
    • by be-fan ( 61476 )
      1) The PSP's update is pretty painless as well, and it seems the PS3 interface is based on that.
      2) Your Famicom didn't *have* an OS, it just had a firmware. And it was effectively updated, since each cart would include its own OS code.
    • by NekoXP ( 67564 )
      Your Famicom didn't have an 'OS'. On reset, the CPU jumped to an address in memory which just so happened to be exactly where the cartridge was hardwired to be.. :)

      The entire point of video game consoles is NOT to avoid updating them. The entire point of video game consoles is to have a video game device on your TV or in your entertainment center. If it has an OS? So be it. These days it needs one at least to throw up a menu, connect to the internet for multiplayer (unless every game wants it's own TCP/IP s
      • by sqlrob ( 173498 )
        The entire point of video game consoles is NOT to avoid updating them. The entire point of video game consoles is to have a video game device on your TV or in your entertainment center.

        You missed a big part: That is as easy to use as the TV it is attached to. Having to worry about upgrades negates that.

        • by NekoXP ( 67564 )
          But you're missing the whole POINT; Consoles were never designed in the first place to "allow people to play games without upgrades".

          Maybe that is the advantage of a console for a lot of PC Gamers TODAY, but when consoles first arrived.. who had a PC? Who had to upgrade the OS to play the games anyway?
  • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @06:27PM (#16371265) Homepage
    Nintendo implies it'll upgrade the Wii OS over time to add new features and ensure that the Wii is part of the whole entertaiment system setup they're selling.

    With Sony, it seems the reason they are mentioning that they can update the OS is to deal with bugs they expect to give to consumers in exchange for their hard-earned dollars.

    Gee, thanks, Sony.
    • I'm hoping that, failing this happening before launch, Nintendo will release an update to change "Wii" to, say, anything else. I can carve letters into the box, but it will still have Wii in the boot screen.
    • by brkello ( 642429 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @06:44PM (#16371483)
      Uhh, I am sure both Sony and Nintendo have this ability to release feature updates and fix bugs. There were some OS issues with some PS3s that were on display, so it is logical that they presented this ability in that context. Or are you saying Nintendo is implying that it won't fix bugs? You fanboys make no sense.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by nog_lorp ( 896553 ) *
        Parent has a good point. Are you claiming Sony cannot introduce new features, and will not have an "Whole entertainment system setup"? It seems you are implying that only PS3 has bugs, and only Wii can have new features.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Babbster ( 107076 )
        I won't pretend to be able to speak for the OP (or his "gaming politics") but my inference from what he said is that Sony is putting a spin on this that is unnecessarily bad. While Nintendo announces that their OS is upgradeable so that consumers get new features, Sony announces that their OS was a) not final at a very recent trade show (with only about 2 months to launch) and b) upgradeable to fix potential problems.

        It would be like me running a deli and telling a customer that it'll take me about 10 m
        • PS - I should also note that this spin could be entirely attributable to the author of the article, or, for that matter, to my own prejudices (I have them, though I try to suppress them and be fair). :)
        • by brkello ( 642429 )
          I believe it is just article spin as Slashdot is heavily biased. The OP just spun it to the next level. It's pretty clear to any rational person that they both can update and add features/fix bugs. I guess I don't really have a bias when it comes to consoles. I have all three in my house and have enjoyed all of them. I never buy the first rev of something and always wait for a price drop. I think it is just how irrational the majority of people act on here about Nintendo that forces me to reply. They
        • by Creep73 ( 647258 )
          If you walked into a deli and they informed you that your meal would take 10 minutes, because they wanted to make sure the meat had not gone bad, would you still eat there? I can't say that I would. I appreciate the candid statement but it would probably kill my appetite. It doesn't kill the appetite of a Sony fanboy though.

          No matter what happens, massive amounts of people will buy the PS3. Even now the fanboys are coming out of the woodwork to defend the honor of their precious PS3. Sony could anno
    • Very true. The last thing the console industry needs to do is follow the path that so many PC game makers have. Release, sell buttloads of the game, then patch it to a functional state. We've all seen too many games like that. Eris
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by LoverOfJoy ( 820058 )
      Yes, the difference between Sony and Nintendo is that Nintendo is better at marketing the same exact features.
    • by be-fan ( 61476 )
      Don't pull that. Sony's track record with OS updates is proven, in the PSP. PSP updates ad features and shut-down homebrew hacks, which is precisely what you'll see Nintendo do. There is little reason to believe the PS3 will be different, aside from blind fanboyism.
  • It sounds like having usb-stub or network updates supported would make it vastly easier to mod it. All it would then require would be reversing the update formats, rather than opening up the box and such. Ofcourse, it depends on how the patches work / what mechanisms are available.
  • by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @06:50PM (#16371539)
    I'm afraid that while the new consoles brag how adaptable and updateable they are, they'll lose the very advantage of being a console (no need to reiterate, you know the story).

    At the same time Vista is going full-speed into unification and standardization of game interfaces, technologies, ratings and even unification of the hardware (you know DX10 is much stricter and there's no "we support 80% of DX10" - you either support all or none).

    Xbox 360 has for it media center hub functionality, slick integration with Windows CE mobiles and XP/Vista (Live Anywhere), and sane price.

    Wii has a unique approach to gaming and control interfaces.

    I wonder what PS3 has. Fast processor and updateable OS? Well I have this on my PC.
    The thing that keeps PS3 going (I hope) will be the brand loyalty, and, with some luck, some good exclusive games.
    Tough call for Sony, but I wish them good luck with it, if even only for the good old times.
  • In addition, Sony said it has the capability to upgrade the PS3's OS after the console launches through its online network, memory stick files or Blu-ray discs.
    Let us hope that the only stuff that Sony will attempt to "upgrade" is additional game content, bug fixes, online store, and other similiar positive features. No rootkits on my PS3, Sony! ;)
  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Monday October 09, 2006 @07:23PM (#16371899)
    Sony have very successfully introduced firmware enhancements to the PSP, so what's the big story here? Of course the firmware at TGS was unlikely to be the final version because there is no final version. There is nothing to stop Sony from supplying a firmware update on the game discs or when you log on to the net. Either way, the firmware gets enhanced over time to fix bugs, plug any security holes and add new functionality.

    It would be stupid if the PS3 didn't do it. Not only would it mean you'd be stuck with bugs forever, but you never get new features. The PSP got some substantial new functionality such as web browser, AAC playback, location free etc. through firmware. I'd be pissed if a console in this day and age *didn't* offer it.

    • Yeah, I don't think people are upset at the possibility of new features, it's just that there's a flipside to this coin, and it's that the ability to patch problems through updates makes it "acceptable" for devs/publishers to ship games that might not quite be up to the quality we're used to on consoles, at least in terms of bugs and such. When you know you won't be able to patch your software, and your company's reputation is on the line, there's good reason to test the hell out of your game. Now the "ship
  • I know that many game studios have already shipped their final codebase that is untested on final hardware and software. Trust me, they are crossing their fingers that everything works.
  • 1. Costs more.
    2. Get to find all the bugs it shipped with
    3. Controller may or may not respond the way you expect
    4. Game manual may not accurately tell you how to do something, since the OS wasn't final.

    but, most importantly

    5. PROFIT! (for Sony)
  • Lets not forget about Sony's history with firmware upgrades especially as they relate to gaming hardware. When the PSP came out and I started reading about all the homebrew software for it I was really enthused and wanted one but those days quickly came to an end as Sony deployed new "features" in firmware upgrades and while they have delivered new software to users they also have locked down the device far beyond where it was when it was purchased in many user's cases.

    For me the lesson is be ware of Sony
  • That is corporate speek for playing the arms race between DRM and DRM crackers.
  • Anyone else as excited as I am of having consoles that will likely require patches. Sounds to me that the "upgradability" discussed is just a big opening for same sorts of problems that affect pc games. I guess the good news is that horrible bugs can be patched.

    I predict that symantec will magically find the first ps3 and wii viruses about a week after launch..if not before. Luckily with the online stores for all 3 vendors we can buy and download our "virus protection" for a small fee from the convenience of our gamepads.
  • D00dz! th4t$ s0 t3h SuXx0rz. t3h s0ny is just ripping off Nintendo now... (sorry got too lazy to keep w/ the 1337 speak)
  • Good news to me. (Score:2, Informative)

    by dannycim ( 442761 )
    I expect the upgrades are going to work just like those on PSP. Select the Update option on the crossbar, hit OK, wait for download to finish, click OK, machine reboots, and you're done. Very simple, very monolithic so even your grandmother can deal with it. No questions about drivers or libraries, it just works.

    As far as the games coming out while the OS isn't set in stone, don't worry. Typically games come with all the software they need to drive the hardware directly, so they interact with the OS fir
  • ...Xbox 360 OS *still* not finished after product release! Wii OS to be released unfinished also! Linux, Windows totally not finished either! ZOMGWTF!11!1

    Imagine the sheer balls on Sony (my employer, disclamer etc.) releasing unfinished software to the masses! How evil of them! I'm astounded, gutted, horrified, etc.

    Keep FUDing boys, it entertains us semi-rational folks :)
  • Meh, the OS being updated via online updates I can live with. What is really scary are the anecdotal reports that Blu-Ray discs are incredibly fragile. Seems there are two issues, one is that the data is stored very close to the surface of the disc, the other is that the laser has to be held very close to the disc as well. So far all the Blu-Ray owners are the technophiles who by nature treat even the discs with kid gloves, and even some of them have reported that a stray hair or fingerprint leads to a r
  • just like the Wii's OS, it will be upgradeable in the future.

    Is that to imply that the 360's OS is not upgradable? I own a 360, and knew there were... updates to be had; game updates, Dashboard updates, so i then assumed that the OS was as well. Is that not true?
  • Same story, os on new consoles upgradeable. Shock (that's sarcasm in case you don't own an Xbox 1 or 360). Nintendo Wii: It runs linux (according to submitter, it won't)! You can upgrade it to reach the apex of civilization! It's brilliant and never thought of before! Sony PS3: Look at what a piece of crap it is! Constantly fixing bugs! Sony just wants force the DRM on us! The anti-Sony bias has traveled beyond obvious, turned the corner at hilarious, and is now getting on the on-ramp to conspirac

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead