We speculated back in August that the stars were starting to align for Sony around a Motion-controlled/3D future for the PS3. Our confidence in this fact centered around the recent motion-controlled demonstration that Sony gave for the PS3 at E3. Combined with the never-used EyeToy camera, what Sony was showing off looked comparable, if not better, than the motion control that Nintendo has been trying to sell us for years.
Coupled with the belief that the NVIDIA RSX platform shared quite a bit of tech with the eventual NVIDIA 8xxx series which does currently support 3D via the new 3D Vision product, we guessed that in very short order (2010-ish) Sony would begin promoting a 3D future for the PS3 when coupled with 120hz or 3D-capable televisions.
Kotaku covered details from a recent Sony presentation in which they did exactly that — specifying that all existing PS3s on the market can be made 3D capable with a firmware update. Sony expressed a desire to roll out such an upgrade by the end of 2010 to all existing and new PS3s. The entire rollout looking something like this:
This move by Sony would certainly get them out of the rat-race with Microsoft and the more multiplayer-friendly that is the Xbox 360 — a hardware move like this, if successful (as proved it can be by Nintendo), would force Microsoft into another hardware revision of the Xbox family in order to compete.
While Microsoft is bringing image-recognition-based motion control to market shortly with Project Natal, there are still no plans to cater to the 3D market… assuming there is one.
We are going to make another prediction right now and say that there will not be a significant 3D gamers market until after 2012. We aren’t basing that on any Mayan calendars or end-of-days premonitions, just our own experience with 3D and how solidly unimpressive it was.
We were at PAX 2009 this year and spent some time at the NVIDIA booth, watching Resident Evil 5 with the NVIDIA Vision glasses. The NVIDIA employee went out of his way to explain that Resident Evil 5 was “built from the ground up to fully utilize this 3D technology”.
We put the glasses on and expected to be amazed but were instead greeted with an experience that was lacking in all the ways 3D experiences typically are:
- Shifting your angle of view caused visual anomolies that you are likely used to if you’ve been to a 3D movie.
- There is some visual ‘leap of faith’ required to try and immerse yourself in the 3D experience, because the scene and some of the items in it look odd.
- 3D visualization of games that only expect 1 Point-of-View really exacerbates how “flat” a scene will look — sort of like the different layers of a scene in Little Big Planet sliding by each other.
There just wasn’t any significant shift in the experience for me to think that it was worth the $200 glasses or a $2400 TV to experience it.
Given this is 3D 1.0, and we’re bound to see electronics manufacturers play with different ideas until one “sticks”, I would not expect a solid 3D gaming market/experience until 2014 — some experience that is so expected that all the triple A titles are shipping with support for it.
And oddly enough, 2014/15 is the timeline Sony was looking at for the Playstation 4, and we’ll most likely be seeing the 3rd revision of the Xbox 360 by then as well.
Mainstream 3D is years away, but it will come.