Sony: 3D Can Make Games More Accessible
Simon Benson, a senior development manager at SCE’s Worldwide Studios stereoscopic team, has said that 3D can make gaming experiences more accessible for novice players and also give core gamers a competitive advantage online.
Speaking at a recent 3D event, a Sony marketing manager told attendees that gamers who play online titles in 3D will have an advantage over those that don’t. We asked Benson following the speech how big this advantage is and what it would mean for players.
“It all depends on the gamers to be honest,” he said. “Initially we were slightly concerned about this because we were thinking, what if it makes it twice as easy or something like that."
Asked how much easier playing in 3D makes games, he said:
“We haven’t quantified that to that level of degree at the moment. What we do find is that it depends. It depends on the nature of the game and what you’re actually getting. We think it’s pretty much in a similar domain to when someone has got an HD TV and someone else has got an SD TV. The person with the HD TV 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 added. “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 breaking. Many of our hardcore gamers are already pretty good at that anyway, so how much of an edge is it going to give them compared to someone who’s only just tried a game for the first time? We often see that if you give the controller to someone for the first time they might crash a lot until they get used to the fact that they’ve got to use other cues to perceive distances and breaking and stuff like that, but suddenly you can give a controller to someone to play a stereoscopic driving game and even if they’ve not played it before the 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."
As Sony Computer Entertainment UK boss Ray Maguire told us at the same event: "… My perception of 3D is that we see in 3D. When we watch a [2D] TV screen that’s not how we see the world. You change that, and put it in a situation where what you see is what you get, it brings everything into a new real environment."
Commenting further on the impact of 3D gaming, Benson said: "I think what’s basically going to happen is that anyone who has stereoscopic 3D televisions and, for example, is playing a driving game, I would imagine you’re likely to find that the accessibility level is higher, that people would generally perform better on their first go. But 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. 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.”