Sony's CES booth was heavy on 3D content, the current fancy of consumer electronics makers, including a playable 3D version of Gran Turismo 5 for the PlayStation 3. Does the Real Driving Simulator become even real-er when played in 3D?
Well, it certainly ups the challenge, as adjusting to a 3D display while coming to grips with Gran Turismo 5's impressive driving physics doubles the learning curve. But it certainly looks 3D with the PS3 game's HUD popping against a cockpit that simulates a real feeling of depth, from the steering wheel and driver's hands displaying in the foreground, down to the 3D vents in the dashboard.
It was impressive. But it was also a little bit disorienting. That may be due to my penchant for oversteering the Mazda that was available to take for a spin. And I mean that literally, as the braking in GT5 and the force feedback from locking up the tires sometimes sent be spinning wildly out of control. Readjusting my eyes to the 3D display afterward took longer than my eyes were comfortable with.
The 3D effect was, for lack of a better word, tastefully done, offering a sense of depth to the road ahead without much in the way of technical gimmickry. But it did have a drawback, as objects far in the distance and shadows cast on the car's interior introduced a more noticeable moiré pattern effect when viewed in 3D.
As a tech demo, GT5 in 3D was interesting, even if the extra visual tricks didn't add much substance to the experience.
Sony plans to update the PlayStation 3's firmware at some point in 2010 to introduce 3D content - reps said "summer" - if you'd like to test out 3D gaming yourself.