Having already introduced 3D gaming support to the Playstation 3 (PS3) since firmware update 3.30 — the latest version at this time of writing is 3.40 — which was released last month, Sony has today given us a slightly more precise timing for the addition of 3D Blu-ray playback.
According to Mick Hocking, senior director at SCEE (Sony Computer Entertainment Europe) who was speaking at an exclusive London event, a firmware upgrade that empowers the Sony PS3 to handle 3D Blu-ray titles will be available for download in September this year. Prior to today’s revelation, Sony has hinted that 3D Blu-ray support will come “sometime this fall”.
Not stopping at this, Sony will also release a further PS3 firmware fix down the line to display 3D photos, although the company refrained from providing an estimated date. This makes perfect sense since Sony has just launched two cameras which are capable of taking panoramic shots in 3D, namely the Sony Cybershot DSC-WX5 and the Sony Cybershot DSC-TX9. If everything goes smoothly as planned, the firmware-patched Sony PS3 will be able to process the MPO (multi-picture file format) images captured by the 3D cameras, and display them on a compatible 3D TV.
These 3D upgrades will be music to the ears of Sony PS3 owners, because soon they will be able to watch 3D Blu-ray films and 3D photos without needing to spend extra on another external playback device (provided they also have a compatible 3D TV of course).
However, during his presentation Mr Hocking was quick to emphasise that Sony’s focus remains firmly on developing and supporting 3D gaming, as the company believes that 3D games are the “killer content” that drives 3D TV adoption. Having already launched at least four PS3 3D games to date (Wipeout HD, Super Stardust HD, PAIN, and a single-level demo of MotorStorm Pacific Rift), Sony is scheduled to bring out Gran Turismo 5 and Killzone 3 in 3D later this year and next.
Mr Hocking went on to explain that almost every game genre will benefit from 3D due to more realistic immersion, improved visual clarity and and heightened sense of depth. He gave examples of 3D enhancing the sense of speed and the accurate judgement of braking distance in racing games, aiming accuracy and perception of scale in first-person shooter (FPS) games, and real-time control and timing in sport games.