Sony Computer Entertainment will offer the first software update for its PlayStation 3 games console on Saturday to coincide with the beginning of sales.

The firmware update will add support for the PlayStation Network online service and be offered as a free download. It will upgrade the software from version 1.0 to 1.1, SCEI said on Thursday. Users will be able to access the update from a menu item in the PlayStation 3.

In late November the company also plans to offer a firmware update for its PlayStation Portable (PSP) games device. The update will bump the firmware to version 3.0 and add PlayStation Network support. With the new firmware in both devices the PSP will be able to access contents stored on the PlayStation 3 via a wireless LAN connection using a system Sony has dubbed "Remote Play". It will also make it possible to purchase and download PSP games content.

The PlayStation 3, Sony's first new console in six years, will make its global debut in Japan on Saturday. Long queues are expected outside electronics retailers because supply of the device is limited. Sony had originally planned to have around 200,000 of the consoles available in Japan for the launch but this has been scaled back to around 100,000 due to component shortages.

The console will come in two versions. One with a 60GB drive will also include wireless LAN support and will cost around ¥59,980 while a second version with a 20GB hard-disk and no wireless LAN will cost about ¥49,980.

International sales of the console begin on 7 November with launches in North America, Hong Kong and Taiwan. European consumers won't be able to buy it until around March 2007, according to Sony's current plans. The company didn't disclose international availability plans for the software update but it has previously rolled out such updates in quick succession to the Japan launch.