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PlayStation 3 Gets Flashy, Amongst Other New Things

Scheduled to hit the PlayStation 3 console last week, v2.53’s only additional feature is full-screen support for Adobe Flash in the console’s Internet browser. While Sony offers no explanation for the updated firmware’s delay, the new Flash support enables owners to watch Flash videos like most PC consumers. Sony even added a YouTube button to the console’s home page. But while the mouse and keyboard is supported on the PlayStation 3, browsing online with the console is still easier using a SIXAXIS or DUALSHOCK 3 controller.

Sony last week also announced a new PlayStation 3 bundle after claiming that it had no intentions of releasing a bundle during the holiday season. This limited-edition bundle includes an obese 160GB hard drive, a PAIN PlayStation Network Voucher, the DUALSHOCK 3 wireless controller, and the uber-awesome game Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. According to the company, there’s enough hard disk space to store "24 high definition movies, 8 standard definition television shows, 100 PlayStation Network games, 2,000 music files, and 2,000 photos." Amazon has the bundle listed for $499.99. Ouch.

"As PLAYSTATION Network continues to evolve with our recently launched video delivery service and more exclusive games, PS3 owners are demanding more storage capacity," said Jack Tretton, President and CEO, SCEA. "Consumers also are utilizing PS3 as an entertainment hub for their digital media, placing content such as their entire music collection on the hard drive. The 160GB PS3 system addresses this growing consumer demand in a compelling bundle that delivers significant value."

Recently Sony updated its virtual community - entitled PlayStation Home - to V01.01.1, however the only known update to the software is Korean language localization fixes, menu changes and what appears to be frame rate improvements. The company still plans to open the PlayStation 3’s Second-Life-like community later this month (via open beta), offering gamers the means to connect with other PlayStation 3 in a virtual world. Owners can create custom Sims-like avatars, decorate their apartments, and even play a few games of bowling with complete strangers. PlayStation Home will be free to PlayStation 3 owners, and will require downloading different areas separately. Despite Microsoft’s best efforts with the just-launched New Xbox Experience, PlayStation Home looks to take the lead in giving gamers a community-oriented experience.

Lastly, Sony announced that SingStar Abba hit the streets today, adding to the company’s list of first-party titles for the 2008 holiday season. The company also said that 60 songs from the European SingStore will be made available to U.S. fans over the next few months, including tunes from New Order, Starship, Toni Braxton and more. Sony’s other first-party titles available this season includes LittleBigPlanet, Motorstorm: Pacific Rift, Resistance 2 and SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Confrontation.

"This holiday season we have gifts of the highest caliber to suit the taste of every gamer in your household; from community based experiences like LittleBigPlanet, to first person shooters like Resistance 2 to racing games like Motorstorm: Pacific Rift to casual games like SingStar(R) and BUZZ! (TM)," said Scott A. Steinberg, vice president of product marketing, SCEA. "We are dedicated to delivering entertainment of the finest quality to our consumers to help make this holiday a lot more enjoyable."

Killzone 2 is currently still in closed beta, and is due to ship in February 2009.