I bet with that PlayStation Network down for 25 days, you really missed those constant, mostly useless firmware updates. Good news, because you’re going to get to do one today! Sony’s just released firmware 3.61 and if you’re near your PS3, you can start downloading and installing it immediately.
Want to know why firmware 3.61 is out? It’s because the PlayStation Network is coming back today! Well, some basic PSN functions. You know, stuff like online multiplayer, friends lists, chat list, messaging, trophy updating and, of course, PlayStation Home. You can also access Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and MLB.com again. The PlayStation Store isn’t back yet and we don’t know when it will return. If you’re in the United States, service isn’t back up yet. It soon could be though. The PlayStation Blog has a map up and, as the PSN comes back online across the country, the states where the service is working will be illuminated. As of 7:40pm CST on May 14, 2011, no states are online yet.
We don’t have a detailed feature list stating what will come with firmware 3.61, but I’m guessing it’s mainly mandatory security and general updates. I’d be very surprised if special features like cross-game chat come up. Once the PSN is back up, all users will be immediately required to change their password. If you had a PS3, then you can only change your password on a PS3 where you had an active account before the outage. If you didn’t use a PS3 or download content with the account, then keep an eye on your inbox for a Sony email with instructions telling you how to change your password.
I just checked, and if your PS3 is connected to the internet, you can get firmware 3.61 now. You could also head to the PlayStation.com software update page and download firmware 3.61 as well. I’m waiting to see people’s reactions online before I do anything, since I have a backward compatible 80gb and we all know sometimes older PS3s can be a bit sensitive when it comes to firmware updates. Plus, I’m sure it’ll be busy now with everyone else rushing to update.
If you own a PSP, then no need to plug it in and charge in to prepare for an update. I also just pulled mine out and there’s no new firmware update there.
Update: As of 9:45pm CST on May 14, 2011, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York have access to the PlayStation Network again.
Update #2: As of 10:30pm CST on May 14, 2011, California has access to the PSN again.
Update #3: As of 12:45am CST on May 15, 2011, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida have access to the PSN again.
Update #4: As of 8pm CST on May 15, 2011, the entire United States has PSN access again. A lot of people are all trying to update and log on at once though, so don’t be surprised if you get a temporary error code or it takes a while to update your password. I’m in Illinois and I received the 80710D36 error three times before finally being able to change my password and log into the PSN.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 8:00pm CST on May 15, 2011 to note the entire US is now able to access the PlayStation Network.