XMB who? Custom soundtracks, friend lists spotted in PS3 games

With the long-overdue in-game XMB still a no-show as of last month's 2.00 PS3 firmware update, we were about to resign ourselves to a future that entailed exiting out of games to read messages and getting up to change the channels. Yeah, barbaric. But perhaps we're being a little too fatalistic. Included in yesterday's PSN Thursday update were some special treats: notably a custom soundtrack option in High Velocity Bowling that looks very XMB-ish, along with an in-game friends list for the Timeshift demo, available from the multiplayer screen, which also has that XMB look 'n feel.

So if we've got some of the most requested features being added straight to games, emulating the look and feel of the XMB interface, what do we need an in-game XMB for then? Maybe nothing, but we worry that if developers become responsible for implementing this functionality instead of it being a system constant, that we'll see an inconsistent experience across whichever games decide to add it. While we're not quite bowled over, it's a step in the right direction.

[Thanks, Justin]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.