Are Videogames 3-D TV’s Killer App?

I think it’s fair to say that the rollout of 3-D TV this year has been… confused, to put it mildly. Although the hardware is ready (in the form of 3-D capable HDTVs and Blu-ray players), where is the 3-D content to go with it? The few 3-D Blu-rays pressed to disc so far have all been manufacturer exclusives paired up with the purchase of specific HDTVs or BD players. And that doesn’t look to be changing any time soon. There are few firm release dates for 3-D Blu-rays the rest of this year. How can people get excited about the purchase of a 3-D TV if they don’t have anything 3-D to watch on it? There’s also the matter that many people find 3-D movies to be gimmicky and annoying, and would rather watch those same movies in 2-D anyway. But what about 3-D gaming? Is that a concept we can all get behind?

I’ll admit that I’m not much of a gamer. I still have my old NES hooked up to my home theater, and would rather play games on that than my PS3. Yet even I find the possibility of racing games or First Person Shooters in 3-D kind of exciting. Isn’t that a natural evolution for these types of games? Other than the need to wear dorky 3-D glasses, can anyone honestly say that they’re not at least a little intrigued by the idea of playing the next ‘Call of Duty’ in 3-D?

Sony already updated the PS3 for 3-D gaming functionality a couple months ago. Even so, just like the situation with movies, there are no 3-D games ready to play on it yet. However, the company has announced that its first four 3-D games will be available for download from the Playstation Store in June… But only in Japan. The U.S. rollout will follow later in the year.

All four of these games will be 2-D to 3-D conversions, not natively rendered 3-D games. That’s pretty frustrating as well. I’m sure that native 3-D games will follow eventually, though.

Many 3-D TVs offer their own 2-D to 3-D conversion features. Have any of our readers tested this with games? Does it work well at all, or are the results terrible? Does the conversion add a lag that makes the games unplayable?

Given that the graphics in all modern videogames are mapped as 3-D CG objects that the game console renders and displays on screen in real time – and given that the 3-D effect is created by viewing an object from two different “camera” angles simultaneously – is it possible for the PS3 to be updated to add its own second virtual camera to pretty much any game? Is the Cell processor powerful enough for that? If so, would this effectively make it possible for the console to convert any and all existing games to 3-D without the need to purchase dedicated software?

I’m not even a gamer, but I see a lot of possibilities in this.


  1. I’ve played PC games in 3D and they work pretty well. Much better than movies, in my opinion.

    ‘Mirror’s Edge’ was very cool, but stuff like ‘World of Warcraft’ even benefited.

    It’s all pop-in 3-D on PC, (You know, so it’s like you’re looking in through a window) or at least with the games I played.

    My new computer will be able to handle 3-D, but I’m still not planning to shell out $300 for a new monitor and another $200 for the NVIDIA 3DVision kit.

    I haven’t had a chance with PS3 in 3-D, but I imagine it works quite well. But since no one I know actually owns a 3-D TV, I’ll have to hope I can find a demo somewhere to find out 🙂

  2. Onslaught

    Josh, I believe Killzone 3 due in Spring of next year is supposed to be natively rendered in 3D? Not sure, but they’re pretty serious about it. As a hardcore title, it should be a good litmus test.

  3. Ralph

    Not trying to mess up my eyes.
    I do marathon gaming sessions and I cant see myself doing 4, 6 or 8 hours of 3D, and why not use it If I’m paying for it?

    Also whatever research has been done on this has not been made available to the public.

    Telling me it’s OK, means nothing.

    Further more and most importantly, folks that are legally blind, or cannot see from one eye, or have limited vision are automatically excluded from all this 3D crap and this is wrong, especially when its not just SONY and Microsoft shoving this down our throats, but Samsung, Cablevision, Dish Networks, sports events and so on are so gung-Ho about it.

    They all want a piece of the Avatar money and they want to strike while the iron is hot.

    This isn’t for me, I already strain my eyes enough, and I want to keep my money where it is, we are in a recession (if not depression) after all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *