Killzone 3... D! 3D hasn't exactly taken the gaming world by storm so far, but that's not stopping Sony from giving the technology another big push.
Killzone 3, due out this week, is the latest installment in the company's eye-popping shooter series. And Sony's pulling out all the stops this time. Arguably the best graphics to appear in a PlayStation 3 game to date? Check. Integration of the PlayStation Move controller? You bet! 3D? Oh yeah -- it's in there, too.
The game, in fact, was built from the ground up with 3D in
mind. And it was one of the first selling points Sony management hyped when it
showed off the game at last year's E3.
But part of the problem with 3D gaming is that the video
game industry hasn't come close to putting out its version of Avatar yet -- an
experience that is so dramatically improved by the technology that it will
prompt people to invest in a 3D TV set so they can participate in the pop
Sony, not surprisingly, would love to be the company to make
that game. Not only would it boost PS3 sales, but the company (as a major
television manufacturer) has a lot to gain if 3D gaming takes off.
However, convincing people to spend $1,000-$5,000 on a new
TV set simply for a video game is a Sisyphean task. The Nielsen Company
study into what was holding consumers back when it came to buying 3D sets
late last year, and the answer basically came down to two things: The high
costs of those sets and being forced to wear the oh-so-fashionable 3D glasses.
There was some good news to be found for game makers,
though. 42 percent of people Nielsen spoke with said they were interested in
playing video games in 3D, and 71 percent of the hardcore or regular gamers
surveyed said they wanted to experience video games in 3D.
But does that mean that Killzone 3 will be the game that
pushes them over the edge?
It's unlikely. While early reviews of the game have been
generally positive (the game has an average ranking of 85 on Metacritic),
the 3D components haven't exactly converted skeptics.
IGN writes of the effects: " 3D is...well…3D. Yay?" TheSixthAxis is even less
enthusiastic, saying that while the 3D was "initially quite
impressive, the effect didn't do much to convince me that this is the
future." But the typically tough critics at Eurogamer
disagree, noting that while it "doesn't really add anything to the
gameplay." the 3D tech "ramps up the wow factor and will certainly
justify any expensive TV purchases you might be planning to make."
Killzone 3 is hardly the only big title coming in 3D this
year. Electronic Arts will roll out 3D-enabled shooter Crysis 2 in March, while
Sony's own racer Motorstorm: Apocalypse crosses the finish line in April. Other
third-party publishers are on the 3D bandwagon as well -- including Konami, who
last year announced plans to add 3D support to their anticipated Metal Gear Solid: Rising.
Even bigger? Try Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, which releases in the format this November. That title is expected to be one of the PS3's best selling of the year — and is much more likely to attract mainstream gamers.
Ultimately, users are likely to migrate towards 3D in a roundabout fashion. Because of the exorbitant costs, many consumers -- gaming-centric or otherwise -- are waiting until there is an ample amount of 3D television programming as well.
In the meantime, Nintendo could start driving demand for the technology with its 3DS handheld system starting in March. While it won't help Sony's bottom line, it will give the majority of the gaming world its first taste of what 3D gaming is all about. And assuming there's a favorable reaction to those efforts, it could be just the nudge that fence sitters need to make the leap to 3D on the console side.