It looks like those of us who bricked our PlayStation 3 consoles after trying to update our hard drives are getting some relief, with Sony recently replacing the 3.56 firmware update that was causing all the trouble. (You can download the tweaked firmware right here.)
I re-installed my original PS3 hard drive (which, luckily, I hadn't formatted yet), updated the firmware, swapped in my new 500GB hard drive, and bingo—the console recognized and formatted it. Unfortunately, restoring my PS3 backup didn't go as smoothly, with several game saves getting lost in transit. (For example, a solid year of activity in Dragon Age: Origins—gone, apparently.)
While I'm glad to see that Sony acted quickly to fix the botched firmware, I'm concerned and disappointed that Sony HQ didn't see fit to announce the new firmware on the PlayStation Blog—and indeed, the updated firmware has the same version number (3.56) as the old. If you ask me, the conscientious thing to do would have been to make a brief announcement and change the version number to 3.57.
Big picture? I'm happy to have a massive, 500GB hard drive in my PS3, at last. Based on my experience, however, swapping out the HDD isn't a process I'd recommend to casual users; clearly, it's a dicey proposition, and there's no guarantee all your game data will be restored intact.
Update: A company PR rep tells me that Sony "isn’t planning anything formal" in terms of announcing the firmware fix.
"For any consumer that ran into an issue, they would contact the consumer services department and be helped out in real time," the spokesperson said.
Perhaps, but I still think Sony should go ahead and change the version number of the tweaked firmware.