Nintendo and Sony fell into sync with their portable consoles yesterday as both the 3DS and the PlayStation Vita launched their latest firmware updates.

I sat down yesterday afternoon to do a little handheld gaming when an unexpected series of events began to unfold. First I powered up my Vita intent on playing a little Soul Sacrifice. It being Tuesday and the PlayStation Network weekly update having gone live, I decided to bop by the virtual store first, just to see if there was anything that caught my fancy. That’s when I was prompted to update my software to version 2.60.

“Very well,” I thought, pressing the necessary buttons to get the download started. “I guess I can play the 3DS instead.”

I put my Vita aside and, once again, decided to venture into the Nintendo eShop before diving into some daily chores in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. I was once again prompted to update my portable console, this time to 3DS software version 6.2.0.

Neither of these updates took more than a minute but, still, it was kind of odd to have it all happen at the exact same time. And look at those numbers: 2.6 and 6.2. Seems mighty convenient, if you ask me. Paranoid illogical games journo conclusion: Sony and Nintendo are working on a unified portable gaming console offering the strengths of both consoles with none of their weaknesses.

All joking aside, both the Vita and 3DS have some new software available and they both add some nice new features.

First up is the easiest of the two to break down, the 3DS. It’s the easiest because, other than the usual background performance tweaks, the only thing this update changes was the inclusion of the highly anticipated Nintendo Zone StreetPass functionality.

You see, here in the U.S., we’re frequently a bit more spread out than, say, folks living in Japan. It’s not as common to walk past another 3DS owner on a regular basis, meaning that the system’s StreetPass functionality is a little frustrating for those of us living in smaller towns or, say, miles away from their nearest neighbor.

With this new functionality, places that offer Nintendo Zone Support (Best Buy, McDonalds, Starbucks, etc.) will now store the StreetPass information of the most recent visitor. That way, when you visit one of these locations, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get at least one new StreetPass visitor added to your 3DS. And then, when you leave, your info will be stored to pass on to the next visitor. It’s not a perfect solution (storing five visitors, for instance, would be a bit more helpful), but at least it’s better than nothing.

And then there’s the Vita, which has now moved on to Software Update 2.60, offering a small collection of improvements. The full list of improvements can be found by following the link, but here are a few of the highlights: You can now easily stream video and music from your PS3 or PC directly to the Vita, you can now access many of the system’s network settings (such as airplane mode) by holding down the PS button, and you can now access PS Plus options (specifically cloud storage) directly from each game’s home tab.

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