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In-game messaging en-route to the PS3?

Icon sparks speculation

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Sony may have made a slight PlayStation 3 faux pas by posting the image of a potential update to the XrossMediaBar (XMB) user interface that would give gamers access to in-game communications options.

XMB_screenshot

Could this icon indicate forthcoming PS3 features?

The blurred image, which several sources have claimed appeared recently on Sony’s US site, is called “Friends & Messaging” and describes how users can talk to others during game play. It also says you’ll be able to say hello anytime you’re online, or have a video conversation with other gamers via, say, the PS3’s Eye camera.

XMB

The PS3's XMB GUI menu

The feature could be an update the PS3’s XMB, an award-winning Sony GUI that allows users to cycle through icons spread horizontally across the screen. The GUI was developed prior to the PS3, but it currently lists around nine categories of options, such as PlayStation Network and Friends, on the console.

At this stage, it’s pure speculation as to whether the image is really an indication of upcoming improvements to the PS3's communications abilities, via the XMB. Or, sadly, it may just be a well executed bit of Photoshop trickery that’s got gamers and hacks around the world sitting on the edge of their seats.

Sony couldn’t be contacted when we went to press, but Register Hardware will bring you more news as we have it.

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