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Sony plans PlayStation 3 update

Software adds support for online service

Sony will offer the first software update for the PlayStation 3 on Saturday to coincide with the release of the console in Japan.

The firmware update will add support for the PlayStation Network online service and be offered as a free download. It will upgrade the software from version 1.0 to 1.1, Sony said. Users will be able to access the update from a menu item in the PlayStation 3.

In late November the company also plans to offer a firmware update for its PSP (PlayStation Portable) games device. The update will bump the firmware to version 3.0 and add PlayStation Network support. With the new firmware in both devices the PSP will be able to access contents stored on the PlayStation 3 via a wireless LAN connection using a system Sony has dubbed Remote Play. It will also make it possible to purchase and download PSP games content.

Long queues are expected outside Japanese electronics retailers this weekend because supplies of the device are limited. Sony had originally planned to have around 200,000 of the consoles available in Japan for the launch but this has been scaled back to around 100,000 as a result of component shortages.

The console will come in two versions. One will feature a 60GB hard-disk drive and wireless LAN support; this will cost around ¥59,980 (about £270). A second version with a 20GB hard-disk and no wireless LAN will cost about ¥49,980 (£220).

The highly anticipated product is not expected to go on sale in Europe until March 2007.

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