PSN Director Talks Firmware Roadmap, Cross-Game Voice Chat


One of the very best features of PlayStation family products (PS3 and PSP) is the ability to update the system firmware via downloadable patches. Had this main feature not been included, we’d be stuck with the same feature set that each system launched with, and when compared to the robust feature set we have now, that’s not much.

Over the years many firmware updates have come and gone. Some significant, some not so much. Have you ever wondered how Sony plans the release of any new features included with each firmware update? Eric Lempel explains how…

eric-lempelIn a recent interview with PlayStation: The Official Magazine in the Holiday 09 issue (issue number 027), Eric Lempel spills the beans on how Firmware update features are planned and released for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable:

“We go about doing that in a few different ways. We do consumer research in addition to following our roadmap. We’ve had a very had a very long roadmap that we’ve wanted to roll out, and clearly all of them couldn’t be rolled out day one when the PS3 launched. So we’ve been implementing these features as we go along and some of them, and some of them take longer than others.”

Lempel continued:

“Of course time and manpower always factor in because there aren’t limitless resources. And are sometimes key features that must go out in Firmware updates. For example, you saw on September 1, we released a 120GB PS3 and we did a Firmware update, and there were some enhancements in that specifically to bring on the new hardware.”

The director of the PlayStation Network further explained:

“We absolutely read all the feedback that we see on our blog when we do firmware updates. We have people who look across different forums and different sites. And we also do our own testing – some very extensive testing..”

“But in some cases, we can’t do complete testing because you never quite know how things will work until users have it.”

When asked the question that’s on every PS3 owners mind, on the long awaited cross-game voice chat feature Lempel has this to say:

“I think it’s incredibly popular. We know users want it, and like lots of other things that work cross-games, technically, it’s complicated. But it’s definitely something we’re looking at.”

If you want to read the full interview, pick up issue 027 of PlayStation: The Official Magazine at newsstands now.