Tweak It: PS3 GameOS

Perfection, rightly so, is pretty much unattainable.  That means that there is always some improvement to strive for.  Games consoles have been with us now for over thirty years and their functionality has been expanding at an ever-increasing rate. When Sony’s original PlayStation introduced the Compact Disc as the storage format for its games, games consoles suddenly became devices that we could use to play back our other entertainment media.

Another generation on and Sega clearly had the imagination to see where the addition of online functionality could take consoles when they created their ill-fated Dreamcast.  Now consoles sport a vast range of capabilities beyond simple gaming and doubtless PC gamers sit smugly pointing out that their general purpose machines have been doing it all for longer.

While there will always be more features that can be added, for example there is a vocal group who believe the PS3 is missing a key one, what about the features that are already there.  There is room for improving, or tweaking, those.

So to give you something to think about on a Sunday this is the start of a series of posts asking you how you would improve the existing features of something gaming-related.  To kick things off this week let’s take a look at the PlayStation 3’s feature-laden GameOS which should give you plenty to talk about with all the features you can currently access via the PS3’s XMB.

Here are the top three tweaks I would like to see:

1) Streamlined in-game XMB

Sony capitulated to the demands of gamers and added the ability to access the XMB while in-game way back in the short-lived  firmware 2.40.  However I rarely use it because being identical to its out-of-game incarnation it is just too slow. Loading all the icons takes too long.  That fact that so many of those icons on it cannot be used in-game itself suggests that Sony need to slim it down. Presumably slimming it down could also reduce the amount of memory the GameOS requires in-game, so that could help developers too.  It needs to focus on just the essential features needed in-game, load instantly and be quicker to navigate, just like the Xbox 360’s in-game equivalent as it happens.

2) Backup to NAS (Network Attached Storage) drives

Being able to backup the contents of the PS3’s hard drive is a great feature.  For me though it would be much more useful if it was not just restricted to backing up to USB-connected drives.  My NAS drive has much more storage available than any of my USB drives and it is always available so it would be great not to have to connect up a USB drive when I want to make one of my regular backups.

3) Auto-set time and date when connecting to PSN

On the time and date settings menu on the XMB is the option to set them via the Internet.  If you connect to PSN on a regular basis you should never have to hit the update button, as a part of the PSN login process could and should be to perform that update for you.  It is not just a matter of keeping your PSN messages in sequence; you may not know that often servers for online games will not allow you to join if your time and date is significantly out.  The Xbox 360 does this and even goes one step further by preventing you from changing them manually if you are connected to Xbox Live.

Those are my picks, two minor changes and one much more significant one, so now it is over to you.  How would you improve the existing features of the PS3’s GameOS?

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117 Comments

  1. I’d like to be able to minimise a game, do other stuff, then go back to the game without having to reload it. I also believe custom sounstracks should be standard across all games, and not just those that choose to do it. Other than that I’m more than happy with the way things are.

    • Minimise is a cracking idea!

    • Yeah, That stuff would be great.

      Id also love a better in game xmb. One that dosent display stuff that you cant use in game.

      And a better choise of colours for the background, A colour wheel would be better. Not just pre set options.

    • Shame it isn’t powerful enough to that, I like to do that on the pc very handy

      • It’s not about power, it’s about resource and multitasking optimization. You could do that on a 14 MHz Amiga with less than 8 MB of RAM. The AmigaOS 4 is a full feature PPC-based operating system which requires less than 32 MB to operate and can multitask with demanding 3D games without any problem.

        I comparison, the XMB needs 48 MB of RAM for a relatively poor feature set and a very limited interface. That’s not normal.

      • A tingle goes down my spine when someone mentions an Amiga… great days…

    • Great idea, I imagine it would be similar to the PSP’s ‘pause game’ function.

  2. I agree fully with the auto time & date, My clock always seems to end up 5 minutes slower after a few months. Not sure why. I would also like the ability to delete trophy data. I have games that im not going to bother playing anymore – like Zen pinball, I would like to remove it from the list. It sits at 0% and that will never change.

    • Don’t agree with the trophy list. That has to be a definitive list of everything you’ve played or it defies the object. I like to know that you only got 1% on a certain game whereas I got a much better 5%

      • What about the SSHD demo then? It adds SSHD to your list yet you can’t earn trophies or anything.

      • I dont really mind if I have got a trophy on there, I would mainly like to remove the 0%’s….. I have a few….

      • With Tony on this one. at least when pele view you’re trophies they can tell what games you do and don’t like.

      • Obviously I ment people and not pele lol

      • You are supposed to buy the full SSHD, anything less is an intolerable sin.

      • I did, that’s just the most common complaint ;)

      • but wouldn’t it be cool if Pele did in fact check out our trophies? (^_^)

        anyway.
        if you’re going to have some sort of performance tracking system like the trophies or achievements then being able to delete the games you’re not good at pretty much defeats the purpose of it.

  3. Oh, and also a web browser that actually works and doesn’t cause system crashes if I try and watch you tube. While we’re at it, ms word would be a good addition.

    • But adding MS Word would hardly be a tweak to an existing feature would it. :-)

    • youtube?……;)

      • What are you trying to imply mikey?

      • Youtube is actually 1 word ^_^

      • Oh right, gotcha. That’ll be my phones autocorrect kicking in and me not noticing.

      • My iPad does that sometimes can be annoying when I don’t notice it!

    • I can’t recommend ps3youtube enough, apparently :)

    • An improved web browser is certainly needed.

  4. Give us a customisation option.
    I mean, if there are options we don’t use, let us ‘delete’ them. They wouldn’t actually be deleted, but they’d be hidden and wouldn’t load unless we say, checked the box under XMB settings or something similar.
    This would presumably make the XMB we end up using faster, and not full of superflous options for people who don’t use them.

    • Now there’s one that should find its way into Sony’s suggestion box.

    • This would definitely be good, I only ever use BBC iPlayer and PlayTV in the TV section, yet there are those options… :l

    • Yes, nice one. i dont get why sony dont just put one guy full time on GameOS updates, thinks like this would take a day, tops!

      • A day! You’re not a software engineer are you. :-)

      • haha, yep i am…. to add an option to hide an icon and store it in an XML file (or what ever) is defiantely not very complicated. ok the roll out and testing will take a few days but come on, its not longer than that!

      • I’ve only worked on software that affects tens of thousands of users, not millions, as is the case with the PS3 firmware, and the hoops I have to jump through to get changes in (even bug fixes) are horrible. Making the change in software is the easy part. Getting it approved in the first place and tested afterwards can take months. I dread to think what it must be like trying to get a change into the GameOS.

    • This feature is already kind there, sorta. I know you’re referring to removal of the complete app or system option from the XMB, but you can delete the apps you don’t want, although the icon will remain on the XMB (this is the kinda, sorta part), but the data stored under the app will be deleted. If you want to install the data again you just click on the app and it’ll auto-download so it’s usable again. example Playstation Home uses about 3 gigs, you can delete the app freeing up 3 gigs of HDD space. The Home icon remains but you now have 3 more gigs of HDD. It doesn’t remove the clutter but it helps alot for HDD management.

      • Oh yeah, I know that…
        I actually don’t have any apps other than games there, but the XMB insists on taking it’s sweet time loading everything.

  5. Music visualisation or rather more of it, we’ve not had a new one since FW2.10, Sony should encourage The Studio to start making them.
    More custom soundtracks, but ONLY if it implemented like WipEout HD.

    • I hate custom soundtracks via XMB, you can’t change them quickly in game. I’m a big fan of the system in SARPBC.

      • I bout MLB 10: The Show in America when I was there last week and it easily has the best custom soundtrack system. You basically go in to the in-game jukebox and next to all the songs on the game, it has all of your songs there exactly the same, with artist name and album name as long as you have them on the XMB.

        Then you can create various playlists and things and it just plays all your own songs randomly like they were the built in soundtrack, always coming up with the song and artist name each time a new track starts. FIFA does something similar but it’s nowhere near as streamlined and professional looking.

      • Yea, I remember that, that’s a good system as well.

      • SARPBC? Is that similar to Starbucks?

      • No, it’s Supersonic acrobatic rocket powered battle cars, but I wanted to avoid typing that ^^

    • custom soundtracks in burnout paradise was well implemented, although you had to make a playlsit first.
      i think red dead had one too but i only used it once since i like the music in that.

  6. Let me, as the account holder, decide upon the age limit for PS Store bought games.
    So, I could download a game, review its age rating when I play it myself and then if I see fit, I could change the age limit restriction for that particular game by entering the Parental Control code and then changing the age.
    My theory is that if I’m responsible enough a parent to implement the Parental Control on the PS3, I should be responsible enough to be able to tweak the settings for individual games as well. I know that we can change the PC levels but, sometimes there are games which I feel are OK at a certain level but would be blocked and vice versa.

    Does this make sense?

    • Yes it does. I remember having to call Sony with my mum a few years ago when I wasn’t 18 so I could play GTAIV online, due to their own online parental system. Although i’m thankfully 18 now, please let the parents be responsible for the content they buy their children, or at least set a reasonable, lower age barrier :l

      • I had a similar problem with Metal Gear Online in MGS4. You needed an 18 year old’s account in spite of the game being rated 15

  7. I would like to see on the store some sort of pre-download check list for the store update.

    I don’t get home till around 6 each day so by the time I’ve got in selected what I want to download it usually takes a few hours. If I could select on the tuesday night a list of what I want to download when the store update went live on average everything I wanted would be downloaded by the time I get home.

    • Remote play works for this, I agree though that a web based option would be a good addition as well as a _pre-order_ option.

    • Remote play works in what way? All it does it download any update for the last 10 games you’ve played?

      • No no fatty. Remote play. As in, log onto your ps3 with your psp. Go to work, log on to your ps3 with your psp, download everything off the store, get home, all downloaded.

      • Haven’t got any available wi fi at work other wise I would mate!

  8. It desperatly needs a new webbrowser, and I like your idea of a slimmer XMB for in-game – Sony could easily remove photos, videos and tv as you can’t even access them when in game. They could also slim down the settings to only the ones that are available when your playing. They need to overhaul the friends list though, it’s terribly slow and awkward to use.
    Features like cross game chat and a better party system are desperately needed though, and have been needed since day one. You would of thought they would have seen how good the 360’s party system is and just copied that.

    • That’s probably the case, they can’t as it would not be allowed by memory? They had no issues bringing that to Vita.

  9. Custom soundtracks is a must across the board – I demand to be able to shoot zombie to Avenged Sevenfold!

    Stereo over Bluetooth would also be great. I have quite a nice set of (Sony!) headphones which I currently can only use for chat. The psp Go can do it so I think it’s only software as Bluetooth is a standard tech right?
    Bring back the scrolling updates in the XMB like we used to have advertising new store content
    Put a Steam icon in the “Game” tab and give us access to purchases across formats. Left 4 Dead I mean you!
    Oh, and a TSA hotlink in “Network” of course!

    Think that’s it. For now

    • Yeah to the TSA hotlink! A new bookmarks system on the browser would be nice as alternative.

      • What’s wrong with the current bookmarks system? Works perfectly well for me!

  10. New and user-friendly webbrowser with move compability that can play youtube videos in HD. Better PS1 emulation; faster (to reduce load-times), and with options to increase AA and force better texture filtering (if possible). More media codecs should be added, not even .avi files are playble. And my personal favourite; the ability to create your own folder and move content to your personal liking. For instance, this would allow you to make a “megadrive” folder and put the old sonic and streets of rage games in it. Or a “puzzle” folder where you can put all your puzzle games.

    • You can do that folder option already.
      Just change the album information after pressing triangle while highlighting the game.

      • *runs to check*
        OMG! :-)
        Wish the ones without album info would stay in format folders though…

      • And I wish the folders could be moved up and down freely.

      • Alphabetical not good enough?

    • correction: not even all .avi files are playable.

    • I’ve been doing this since well? launch.

      *sorry.

      They really need better features for the browser. Its so annoying at times.

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