Sony's Leadership on 3D Is Good News for Video Game Industry

Includes: MSFT, SNE
by: Bruce Everiss

I have written here before about 3D gaming and how it greatly enhances the experience and immersiveness of gaming. To me it is like being at the theater, whilst 2D gaming is like watching the TV. A huge jump.

Now Sony (NYSE:SNE) has come out with their 3D plans and they are really going for it, which makes a lot of sense to me. This forms a part of Sony's overall corporate strategy and is not just limited to video games. The corporate goal is a “Target revenue from 3D-related products of more than 1 trillion yen (excluding content) in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013.″ So they are being pretty ambitious.

When it comes to the Playstation PS3 Sony has already demonstrated 3D gaming with Wipeout HD and Gran Turismo 5. In 2010 the company plans to upgrade the PS3 firmware to enhance it’s 3D capabilities. In fact, Sony lists 3D as one of the 5 key advantages of the PS3, the other four being Motion Controller, Blu-ray disk, PlayStation Network and PSP Linkage.

It has to be said that Motion Controller and PlayStation Network are not really advantages when Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) equivalent offerings are both currently looking superior.

Back to 3D, Howard Stringer has predicted that 3D games, pictures and movies will be the next ten billion dollar business for Sony. This is brave. They could end up with a competitive advantage that brings them back to being market leaders in several areas. Or the public may not think that the advantages are sufficient.

One thing that is of note for the video game side of this is that 3D eats into the system resources of any platform it is on. So, assuming that the system is running close to it’s capabilities, there has to be a trade off. There could well be a reduction in other elements of the game. Remember too that a gesture interface (motion controller) also eats into resources and you can see that there is a problem here. Using 3D with a gesture interface will be massively immersive, but we may have to wait for the PS4 generation versions to see the full realisation of the capabilities.

It is really good news for everyone in the video game industry to see Sony going for it again, we need the enterprise and innovation that they have brought to previous platform generations.