Wednesday 28 February 2007
The promised multitasking capabilities of the PS3's XMB (cross media bar), expected to be unlocked in a substantial firmware upgrade that will coincide with the PlayStation 3's launch in Europe, may have been overstated.
The upgrade will hopefully allow you to navigate away from the download in progress screen, and perhaps use other XMB features like photo viewing or watching downloaded movies. But, according to information acquired by industry blog Innerbits.com, it won't allow you to play a game while your download continues.
The website claims that this is because the PS3 requires too much system resources to perform the background downloads. Unlike the Xbox 360 'active downloads' feature, itself a feature added by a firmware upgrade, which allows gamers to play offline games while downloading content simultaneously.
According to the rumour, when you start up a game on the PS3, your download will be paused, only restarting when you exit back to the XMB. Which, essentially, isn't what we want - even though being able to use the XMB while downloading is a huge step from PS3 being unusable for the duration of a download.
It's almost certain that this won't be the last upgrade to PS3's architecture. And given that Sony has already stated that it is focused on developing "new entertainment features" for PS3, we're anticipating that sometime in the future we'll be able to play while we download.
Sony were unavailable for comment at the time of writing.