Sony rolls out PS3 3D Blu-ray support, grief reporting

3D support for Blu-ray movie arrives earlier than expected in today's firmware update for the PlayStation 3.

Sony's long-promised 3D Blu-ray update for the PS3 rolls out today, sooner than originally expected, and all it'll cost you is the time it takes to apply a firmware update.

That's not entirely true. You'll also need a special 3D-enabled TV, of course. Presumably any will do--no need to buy Sony's models unless you're compelled to for one reason or another.

And don't forget the movies themselves. This isn't the update that'll bring 3D gaming to the masses, just special 3D-enabled Blu-ray title support. The pickings are slim, and the titles are mixed, from forgettable stuff like Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore and Clash of the Titans, to older oddities like The Polar Express, a handful of IMAX documentaries, and of course James Cameron's Avatar, which finally arrives in 3D on December 1.

I could take or leave 3D. It's ridiculously expensive. It'll mean buying a new high-definition LCD TV to replace the one I acquired a few years ago, and which I spent ages researching to ensure picture quality that wouldn't make me blush after sacrificing the warmth of my trusty old high-def Sony CRT.

And then there's the trouble with 3D itself. It's still not really 3D, it's just less 2D, like looking into a windows box exhibiting various degrees of "3D-ness," even with James Cameron's neat new two-cameras-strapped-together trick.

My brain's always interpolated the flat images standard TVs display as three-dimensional without thinking about it. I never think "look at how flat Viggo Mortensen is" when he's galloping around Middle-earth, or "hey--two pancakes kissing!" watching Ben Stiller make out with Greta Gerwig in Greenberg.

In any case, the PS3 update isn't merely 3D-related. It also better integrates Facebook, allowing developers to create PS3 games that interact with the social networking service. According to Sony, once PS3-supported Facebook games are available, you'll be able to mix in names, profiles, photos, and friends lists. No word on whether you'll be able to send screen grabs for what you're playing to your Facebook profile, but fingers crossed for that.

The other arguably more practical (and appealing) piece of today's update is "grief reporting" support, which allows you to report inappropriate messages directly from the XMB (cross menu bar) interface.

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Matt Peckham

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