Sony pulls v2.40 firmware, denies full retro-trophy support

[UPDATE] Sony says it is "working diligently to isolate the problem," shoots down reports claiming all past games will get awards; Burnout Paradise first to give trophies retroactively, Uncharted next for prize patch.

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As was announced Monday, today saw the launch of the v2.40 firmware update for the PlayStation 3. The long-awaited update--previewed by GameSpot Hardware--adds the ability to access the console's XrossMediaBar (XMB) and use select features from it in-game. (Players can also access other XMB features directly, but will have to quit gameplay.) It also came alongside a slight tweak to the PlayStation Store, which adds list views and caches images, preventing the need to load previously viewed art assets each time one visits the store.

The v2.40 update will also launch the long-awaited trophy system, the PS3's answer to Xbox 360 Achievements. Though every game for Microsoft's console bestows awards, only three already-released first-party PS3 games--PAIN, Warhawk, and Super Stardust HD--will get the feature this week in the form of patches.

Sony also announced this week that a spate of upcoming titles will sport trophies from the get-go, including LittleBigPlanet, MotorStorm Pacific Rift, NBA 09, PixelJunk Eden, Resistance 2, and SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Confrontation. Speaking with GameSpot, director of PlayStation Network Eric Lempel also said that eventually, all new releases for the PS3--both first-party and third-party--would have trophies.

However, Sony today refuted a spate of online reports claiming all past, present, and future PS3 games would one day get trophies, dashing hopes that Lair completionists would be rewarded for revisiting their efforts. As Sony previously stated, it is putting the onus onto both third-party publishers and its own internal studios as to whether they want to take the time to add trophies to games already on the market.

While Konami hasn't said whether or not it will add trophies to its multiplatinum Metal Gear Solid 4, Sony today confirmed that a pair of PS3 hits--Electronic Arts' Burnout Paradise and Sony's own Uncharted Drake's Fortune--would soon be patched with their own awards. No date for either update has yet been set, with Sony saying both will get patched "soon."

The official Web site of Burnout Paradise's developer, EA-owned Criterion Games, also revealed the patch will be the first update to retroactively award trophies automatically. "Trophies will be awarded based on your progress in your existing save game," the developer said in a statement. "When the update arrives the trophies you have earned will reflect the progress you've made in the game at that time (so you won't have to replay the game again to earn trophies)."

Speaking to GameSpot last week, Lempel indicated no PS3 games would be awarded trophies retroactively, and no other such patches have been announced. It appears that Criterion was able to include the functionality by planning ahead for trophies' inclusion. "We can reveal that this is why your Burnout Paradise save game has always been locked to your PlayStation Network id--so we could guarantee that when PlayStation Trophies arrived that your save game would reflect your progress," the developer stated.

Unfortunately, it appears as if the v2.40 update wasn't available for long. A rash of complaints on the official PlayStation message boards claim the heavily anticipated update caused many PS3s to lock up when owners attempt to load a game. The problem does not appear to be exclusive to an individual hardware model, as owners of 40GB, 60GB, and 80GB consoles have all reported problems.

Sony did not respond to GameSpot's request for comment, but apparently took action by pulling the update from the PlayStation Network. Following reports from forum-goers, GameSpot attempted to download the v2.40 to a PS3 running v2.36 firmware--only to find the update is no longer available.

[UPDATE] Thursday morning, Sony posted a note on the PlayStation Blog explaining the situation. "We have temporarily taken firmware v2.40 offline," said Sony Computer Entertainment America corporate communications director Patrick Seybold. "We've received a limited number of calls from consumers experiencing an issue with installing the system software update on their PS3. While our consumer services department has seen a low volume of calls on this topic, we are committed to providing the PS3 community with XMB access features delivered in the v2.40 update. We are working diligently to isolate the problem for those few consumers and to identify a solution before we put the firmware back up."

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