Sony Adds Blu-ray 3D Support to PlayStation 3

Sony began pushing out a firmware update for the PlayStation 3 that will allow the consoles to play 3D Blu-ray Disc titles.

Users will still require a 3D-compatible television to enjoy 3D content, but with the feature becoming increasingly common on high-end sets the number of people with the necessary equipment is growing. Sony hopes to sell 2.5 million 3D-equipped TV sets this year and has plans to gradually expand the technology from high-end to mid-market sets.

The update, which takes the firmware to version 3.50, will be presented to users of Internet-connected PlayStation 3 consoles next time they switch on their console and can be downloaded and installed through the PS3's "settings" menu.

Sony has sold more than 35 million PlayStation 3 consoles worldwide, which far exceeds the number of 3D-compatible Blu-ray Disc players sold since they've only been on the market a few months.

The addition of Blu-ray Disc 3D support follows the introduction on the console in June of support for 3D gaming. At that time Sony began offering some simple 3D games via the online PlayStation Store.

3D movies are already coming to market. Titles include Sony's "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" and "Open Season." Other titles include "Ice Age," "Monsters vs Aliens," and "Disney's A Christmas Carol" with more on the way this year.

The firmware update brings at least two other features.

One is better integration between games and Facebook. Developers will now be able to create games that have greater interaction with the popular social networking site. For example, users could be able to access Facebook and pull in user names, uploaded photos and friends lists from the site.

The second new feature will make it easier for users to report inappropriate messages send to them via the PS3's PlayStation Network messaging system. The options menu in the friends category will now include an option to report a message.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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