PS3 Update v4.30 Updates Trophy List, Ends Folding@home

Sony will be releasing system software update version 4.30 tomorrow, October 23, for the PS3. The trophy will be moved to the PlayStation Network section on the XMB. In addition, progress towards earning specific trophies will be displayed. Trophies earned on the Vita will also be viewable in the trophy list on the PS3.

Sony also announced that for users updated to v4.30, the services offered on the Life with PlayStation application will no longer be available. Among those services is the Folding@home project from Stanford University. It was launched in 2007 as part of the university’s research of Alzheimer’s disease. To participate, PS3 owners would select the Folding@home icon in the XMB and leave their PS3 on while it ran computations and protein folding simulations. Vijay Pande, Folding@home research lead, issued this comment on the official PlayStation blog:

“The PS3 system was a game changer for Folding@home, as it opened the door for new methods and new processors, eventually also leading to the use of GPUs. We have had numerous successes in recent years. Specifically, in a paper just published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, we report on tests of predictions from earlier Folding@home simulations, and how these predictions have led to a new strategy to fight Alzheimer’s disease. The next steps, now underway at Stanford, are to take this lead compound and help push it towards a viable drug. It’s too early to report on our preliminary results there, but I’m very excited that the directions set out in this paper do appear to be bearing fruit in terms of a viable drug (not just a drug candidate).”

Analysis: The trophy list move may initially confuse some, but its new locaton does make sense and is a relatively minor detail in the end. Being able to see the amount of progress left in earning each trophy is a rather useful feature for people looking to increase their trophy count. Including the trophies earned on the Vita is also handy for Vita owners in keeping track of their trophies on both platforms.

As for the Folding@home project, it was a neat way for PS3 owners to make a contribution to research with one click. After five years they surely have a lot of data to analyze, especially given that the Folding@home project was also available on the PC. The fact that it’s closing seems to indicate that they managed to gather enough data to work with. It’ll be interesting to see where this research goes and what will come of it.


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