Why Sony is wrong about 3D video games

But to me, all the effort seems hugely misdirected. Because for a variety of reasons, I think Sony’s all-encompassing focus on 3D right now is a massive misfire. In terms of timing, technology and even the potential effect on the health of gaming, it just seems seriously misguided. And right now, I’d like to tell you why.

It%26rsquo;s just too damn soon

I wrote an article a while back, after I’d first played a game in 3D (Blitz’s Invincible Tiger). I was pretty impressed. Impressed enough, in fact, to entitle that very same article ‘Why 3D is the new HD’. But that article was about the potential for the technology, written on the proviso that a big push for 3D gaming was way off in the future, leaving plenty of time for the TVs and glasses required to become mainstream mass-market items with price tags to match, and for the all-important game rendering technology to get up to speed.

None of those things have happened, but Sony is going all-out 3D bonkers regardless.

Above: This steak looks a tasty prospect, but it is not yet ready to eat. It is also a metaphorical steak

As serious gamers (and in the case of the men of Radar, sometimes-serious games journalists), we’re the people on the cutting edge of technology adoption. We have the knowledge and the passion (and from time to time the money) that fuels early purchases of cool new stuff. But few if any of the hardcore I know feel ready – or inclined – to fork out for the required new TV to play games in 3D. We’re happy with our current sets, thank you very much. In fact most of the more tech-minded have been waiting for HDTV technology itself to mature to the point where incandescent wonder-TVs are now available at semi-affordable prices. Very few are into the idea of starting all over again with still relatively immature 3D.

And even more fundamentally than that, we need to think about the average man on the street. The guy to whom HD itself is still a new and shiny innovation. Those guys are more numerous than you think. In fact there are bloody loads of them. In the UK, a huge proportion of the population has only just upgraded, and then only because the switching off of the old analogue TV signal gave them an excuse. But plenty more just bought an external digital tuning box. Are this new wave of recently-popped HD virgins going to upgrade again any time soon because Sony tells them they need 3D? Are they arse.

And with the glasses costing between £60 and £100 for a single pair, family movie night just got flagrantly expensive. The market just isn’t ready yet. It isn’t ready at all. In three or four years maybe, but definitely not now.

Next: It gets worse. Twice.

David Houghton
Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.