What was the first console to get Firmware/OS updates?

Discussion in 'General Gaming' started by mspeter97, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. mspeter97

    mspeter97 Robust Member

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    I can't find this info anywhere, I think it's the PSP but then the original Xbox had dashboard updates too.
    Which console had system updates first then?
     
  2. Borman

    Borman Digital Games Curator

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    Downloadable updates, or just updates in general? The PS1 BIOS changed over the years, for instance, but wasnt user upgradable (technically, not sure if mods can change that).
     
  3. sp193

    sp193 Site Soldier

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    The PS had the PIO/Expansion Bus, for further extension of its capabilities. PSIO can boot without extra help (i.e. from a boot CD-ROM), can't it?

    The PS2 had updates to its kernel and browser shipped out in various ways. Not just through update discs, but applied as hotfixes in games as well.
     
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  4. mspeter97

    mspeter97 Robust Member

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    Yeah sorry should have been a bit more precise, I meant downloadable updates and/or updates on disc that are permanent (I think the hotfixes in PS2 games go away after the system is shut down)
     
  5. TriMesh

    TriMesh Site Supporter 2013-2017

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    I think it probably was the PSP - as you said, the Xbox could have the dashboard updated, but the actual "OS" was contained in a ROM chip on the motherboard (well, a flash chip, but the WR/ pin wasn't connected so it was unchangeable). The Nintendo DS came out slightly before the PSP and had its firmware in flash, but also had the WR/ pin disconnected, so that wasn't directly updatable either.
     
  6. mspeter97

    mspeter97 Robust Member

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    Alright, thanks
     
  7. sp193

    sp193 Site Soldier

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    In that case, wouldn't the PSX be the first PlayStation to support downloadable updates natively?
    It certainly had firmware updates for the DVRP, although that was a subsystem. Like the PS2, the HDD browser was installed to the HDD unit. You could do online updates. Part of the firmware was also stored in its built-in 8MB NAND.
     
  8. TriMesh

    TriMesh Site Supporter 2013-2017

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    I tend to put that in the same category as the Xbox - you could update parts of the system, but the core game console functionality wasn't updatable. If you're going to lower the bar to the ability to update any part of the system then you would have to include the original PS2, since that had it's CD player function as an (updatable) blob on the memory card.
     
  9. speedyink

    speedyink Site Supporter 2016

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    PSP was the first one I can think of. It was really cool getting the update from 1.0 to 1.5. It fixed some things that I had noticed, and I remember thinking of all the possibilities in future updates. Then I learned that homebrew blocking was nonexistent in 1.0, and I got sad. The first time I felt the double edged sword of a system update.
     
  10. sp193

    sp193 Site Soldier

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    What do you define as "core game functionality"? If it is the functionality of what the console offers, then no, the PS2 already allowed that to be changed through the browser update function. It was only exercised on 3 models though, to add support for the HDD unit. They just never used it for anything more significant.

    But I did not want to consider the regular PS2 because its updates work differently from the consoles that you probably have in mind - its browser boots an update, but the whole thing is stored in ROM and does not get changed. You could then argue that it is like running another program. Neither could you go online to download updates, although you could have gone online to update your downloaded games.

    On the other hand, the PSX's browser and DVD Player were stored on the HDD, making it impossible to use the the console without the HDD. The boot ROM still did not get changed between updates, but it does not contain the program that boots other processes and that interacts with the user. The amount of functionality that is stored only on the HDD, is hence more significant.
    Even if you booted FMCB, the functionality that makes the PSX the PSX is lost - the XMB is lost with the HDD and no DVR functions are available.
     
  11. DSwizzy145

    DSwizzy145 Well Known Member

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    when that happened?
     
  12. DSwizzy145

    DSwizzy145 Well Known Member

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    I noticed that too when i'd first unbricked/downgraded my PSP back in the day and was VERY surprised about that.
     
  13. mspeter97

    mspeter97 Robust Member

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    The PS2 HDD browser? Is that the Playstation BB?
    I also did not know the PSX had system updates too.
    So the PSP's the earliest we can identify as the rest is just app updates that don't modify the firmware then?
    Kinda surprised none of this was really documented.
     
  14. sp193

    sp193 Site Soldier

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    The DVD Player got installable updates that came on discs. Trimesh was referring to this and it was meant for only replacing the DVD Player with a newer version.

    The browser could be updated during runtime, but this mechanism was only used for the SCPH-10000, SCPH-15000 and SCPH-18000, to help them with booting the HDD Browser from the HDD unit as these early models had no support for the HDD unit. The update file for the SCPH-10000 and SCPH-15000 also had a small patch for patching the design flaw in their browsers, which prevented arguments from being passed to the booted update. These patches are only binding until the console is switched off or reset.

    The IOP kernel is always replaced with the modules that the game was developed with, hence you can say that it is always updated whenever a game is booted.

    As for the EE kernel, it is usually not replaced as a whole. The TDB startup card might be the only thing that replaces the kernel with a totally new version, other than PS2Linux.

    Games and the HDD browser have runtime patches for the EE kernel.
    They carry patches for replacing the flawed ExecPS2 syscall, on the SCPH-10000 and SCPH-15000. The HDD browser will replace the OSD configuration syscalls. These became necessary once they introduced the HDD unit, sometime in year 2000. Since games could be installed and booted on the HDD unit, which required ExecPS2.

    For all PS2 kernel versions, games were eventually shipped with small patches that correct various issues and limitations of the kernels, as their SDK evolved and limitations with the kernels were identified:
    • Alarm update: fix for SetAlarm/ReleaseAlarm.
    • Support for changing and cleaning up after the TLB is changed.
    • Fix for iWakeupThread, iRotateThreadReadyQueue, iSuspendThread.

    So you may find that earlier games had less runtime patches than newer games. The thread fix was the only update that does not get copied into kernel memory, as it does not implement or replace any syscalls within the kernel itself.

    The interesting thing about these patches is that they had to engineer them to not change the original functionality of the bugged syscalls, so that older software that depended on them would not break, if the user was allowed to quit a newer game and chose to play an older game. This is important, if you consider that they cannot change how the games worked after publication because everything came in ROM and they had no online update service for pushing new runtime patches for disc-based games.

    It was a different but similar product, but both are the interfaces for users to manage their content and to boot games.

    Before the PSBBN, there was the HDD Browser, which was just a newer browser that supported the HDD unit...but not the PSBB service.

    I hope you are referring to the same console as I am. I am referring to the PSX DVR recorder, which was released for only Japan in 2003.
     
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  15. AUSTIN PEYTON

    AUSTIN PEYTON Peppy Member

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    Maybe the Sega SKC-1000?
    It was connected to a service in japan and would update you with new stuff.
     
  16. Durandal

    Durandal Rising Member

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    I don't think those count as firmware updates though, there's no evidence that the Saturn side of things was updated. Still cool though!
     
  17. Conte Zero

    Conte Zero Active Member

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    Nokia N-Gage had system updates but they were available only thru specialized equipment on service centers. Probably they were related mostly to the "phone" part and not to the Symbian operating system / games.

    Also Tapwave Zodiac (that came before PSP) had system updates:
    "The Zodiac 1.1 ROM Update is vital if you want to play any games. The update added new features such as background music and a lot of bug fixes."

    Source: https://tapwave.net/utilities/zodiac-1-1-rom-update
     
  18. Bad_Ad84

    Bad_Ad84 The Tick

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    Edit:
    *deleted*
    Being user update requirement was mentioned in later posts.
     
  19. FaZyCrUcK

    FaZyCrUcK Spirited Member

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    Teradrive!

    Did I win..?
     
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  20. mspeter97

    mspeter97 Robust Member

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    Yeah, the Zodiac counts to that makes it the earliest then (I tend to view the N-Gage as only a phone due to how it was made)
    Nice try, but the only updateable part of the teradrive is the pc side. The console side itself didn't get any firmware update of any kind, so did the Megadrive
     
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