Like the HD-DVD vs Blu-ray format war, there are those who are for 3D and those against it. Back then, Sony positioned its PlayStation 3 as a Blu-ray player first — a box that offered the highest quality movies that money could buy. That was in 2006. Today, the PS3 remains fundamentally the same (save for the motion-controlled functionality of the Wii now included), only this time Sony is telling you to take a leap of faith with 3D.
DVICE was invited to test drive a few 3D PS3 games at a special event and I have to say, I walked away fairly shocked at how much 3D added to the overall gaming experience, despite my aversion to it.
The first game I tried out was Motorstorm Apocalypse, a racing game set in an abandoned city. I drove a motorcycle across the rooftops of several destroyed buildings all while smashing into a bunch of debris. Did I feel the whip of the particles coming at me? Absolutely, objects flew by me as I dodged my head ever so slightly — an indicator of just how much more depth my eyes were perceiving. As a huge racing video game fan, where my love for the Need for Speed series is almost a bit too obsessive, I felt the 3D shown off in the game genuinely enhanced my racing experience. I didn't just feel like I was controlling a motorcycle on a screen, I felt like I was riding it.
I would say it was even more entertaining than sitting in a tricked-out racing chair, complete with the top-of-the-line racing wheel from Logitech (gear stick, pedals and all) playing Gran Turismo 5, which I also did, but got sick of after less than five minutes. Apocalypse in 3D was so engrossing that despite getting a slight headache after a race — which could have been from it all being so new — my brain was telling me to walk it off and jump back into the game.
More than Nintendo or Microsoft, Sony seems best positioned right now to offer the 3D experience to the consumer. The company makes its own TV sets after all, and 3D R&D is part of Sony's repertoire. Right now, 3D feels a little gimmicky — 3D games feeling more like tech demos — and it's something that probably won't snag a mass audience just yet. Still, there will likely come a time when 3D as a selling point is just a blasé as HD, and it could be video games, which right now seem more enthusiastic than movies to jump right in, that sell the consumer on 3D.