Sony Shows Its Faith In 3D

The people behind the PlayStation have been proudly promoting their 3D wares throughout the year, but today at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California, Sony brought some of its biggest guns as executives presented its latest technology push.

Top Sony executives Sir Howard Stringer (CEO and President), Stan Glasgow, (Chief Operating Officer), Michael Fasulo, Executive Vice President, (Chief Marketing Officer) and Jack Tretton (President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America) all slipped on 3D glasses as they watched presentations from ESPN, the Discovery Channel and Sony's own internal divisions.

This meant visually dazzling the crowd with teasers for new movies like Men In Black III, Blu-ray releases like Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and video games like Gran Turismo 5, WipEout and MLB The Show 10.

Presented on Sony's own 3D-ready digital projectors, scenes of college football games and Sony's computer animated films were impressive.

"When it comes to good versus mediocre 3D," Sir Howard Stringer told the audience, "you know the difference, Sony knows the difference. Good 3D is immersive, not jarring. It fuels the imagination and is easy to watch."

Stringer says his company is "listening closely to what our consumers have to say about 3D," while in the midst of launching new 3D Bravia televisions that run from $US2000 USD to $US5000 USD.

Sony hopes that consumers will catch 3D fever with the same type of programming that helped push HD television, including sports coverage, Discovery Channel documentaries and games. Sony Computer Entertainment America president Jack Tretton boasted that his company's PlayStation 3 was the "perfect delivery system" to bring that content home.

Sony has sold 35 million PlayStation 3 consoles, Tretton says, and plans to sell 50 million by March of next year.

"As you know, PlayStation 3 played a major role in establishing Blu-ray as the high definition standard for this generation," Tretton said. "What PlayStation 3 did for Blu-ray we're now prepared to do for 3D."

"3D gaming is most anticipated technology for the home to arrive on the market this year," Tretton claimed, adding "PlayStation owners are the true early adopters when it comes to cutting edge technology." He cited research that indicated that PlayStation 3 owners were more likely to have their consoles connected to HDTVs and surround sound set ups than the console's competitors, the Wii and Xbox 360.

Sony's banking big on that adoption, with 20 games coming in stereoscopic 3D in the company's next fiscal year. Some are 3D updates to existing games, like Motorstorm: Pacific Rift, while others are still to be released, like SOCOM 4, Killzone 3 and the motion-controlled brawler The Fight: Lights Out.

3D TV adopters who buy one of Sony's Bravia sets will get two free games and two free demos for the PlayStation 3.

And if that's not enough to convince consumers to jump into the 3D space, Sony's Michael Fasulo says the company will spend $US100 million advertising its range of 3D products, from its TVs to its handheld video cameras to its dedicated Blu-ray players.

After Sony's event, I got a chance to play two of its new 3D PlayStation 3 games, MotorStorm: Pacific Rift and WipEout HD Fury. Both were great 3D technical demonstrations, with the exception of the odd, unsettling visual hitch. Along with its PlayStation Network shooter Super Stardust HD, the two PS3 racing games were some of the better 3D gaming experiences I've enjoyed.

Pacific Rift was the most impressive, offering, in 3D, a better look at distant portions of the track. WipEout HD Fury flowed smoothly, presenting a spectacular sense of depth. Both had their share of distractions, perhaps the product of playing them for little more than five minutes each, my eyes still untrained to the pseudo 3D style.

With Sony's upcoming giveaways, its massive investment in advertising and 3D video game development, and a push from broadcasters like ESPN 3D—which launches officially later this week on providers that include Comcast, DirecTV and AT&T—it's clear that the company is serious about its plans to lead the pack in 3D.


    I'd like to see how long periods of prolonged exposure to the fake 3D depth perception screws with our eyes... I guess the PS3's the “perfect delivery system” when it comes to getting our answer to that question too...

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