Sony says that playing videogames in 3D not only makes them more accessible but can also give players an edge in online combat against 2D-equipped competitors.
It should come as no great surprise that Sony is touting all the great features of 3D gaming, since it's banking pretty heavily on it as the Next Big Thing. But positioning it as a way to gain an edge in online combat? Really? Well, said SCE Worldwide Studios Senior Development Manager Simon Benson, it depends.
"We think it's pretty much in a similar domain to when someone has got an HDTV and someone else has got an SDTV," he explained. "The person with the HDTV may have an advantage if the game requires them to perceive a lot of fine detail in the distance or something. It depends on the game and it depends on what you're trying to do with the core game mechanics as to whether you get an advantage."
"One interesting thing that we have found is that it tends to make the games more accessible in a lot of cases," he continued. "If you're playing a racing game and you're getting some additional [3D] information you can actually measure distances with your eyes, making it easier to judge braking."
He acknowledged that many hardcore gamers are already quite good at making use of alternate visual cues, meaning that the advantage of playing in 3D may be more pronounced with new gamers. But even the hardcore will see a benefit, he added, although it will probably be less pronounced.
"You can give a controller to someone to play a stereoscopic driving game and even if they've not played it before the [visual] cues are more relevant to them because they're used to measuring things with their eyes and they really do feel like it's more familiar to them," Benson said.
"I think at the high end with the hardcore gamers you'll still see a [3D] advantage there, potentially, but the margins will be far smaller. Again, we don't really know and it's something we want to quantify and be a lot clearer on," he said. "It's certainly one thing we are conscious of, and as part of our platform validation cycle we do check these things. We did tests on Wipeout's online racing modes to make sure that it wasn't hugely different... It's not like you're twice as fast or anything."