A few months ago, I picked up one of those old PlayStation 3D Displays. They came out right around the time of Resistance 3, and retailed for about $600. They were 24 inches, and had 2 HDMI inputs and 1 component. Didn’t come with a remote, but they worked with any Sony remote (including the second edition of the PS3 media remote). I got mine refurbished from Newegg for $99. 24 inches and 3D for 99 bucks was too good too pass up. It didn’t come with a pair of 3D glasses (the original retail boxes did), but Amazon gave me the bounty I sought for a measly $15.
It turns out pretty much every PS3 game made between 2010 and 2011 supports 3D. I happen to be playing through Killzone 3 at the moment, but digital standouts Zen Pinball 2 and The Pinball Arcade both support full 3D, even on the latest table downloads.
I’m taking a break to write this article because 3D glasses plus a PlayStation gold headset equals some decent pressure on the temples of the head. Even so, I can say that playing in 3D is simply a better experience. However, it’s too little, too late. TV manufacturers already posed the 3D question to consumers, who went “Ehhhh” and that was the end of that. Even the Nintendo 3DS has a lot more 2D offerings. Pokemon X and Y have many places where 2D is forced, or when playing in 3D causes severe frame rate drops. A game I am playing at this moment, Senran Kagura Burst, only has 3D in cutscenes and transformation sequences. The 3DS’s passive 3D also isn’t strong compared to active 3D, and of course breaks immersion if you hold it in the wrong place.
3D is available in a lot of TVs, and it seems that there are plenty of 3D BluRays to buy at retailers, but it’s no longer an advertised feature. Sony and Samsung have some beautiful 4K displays they’d like to sell you, but as hard as it is to pump out 1080p, we’re not going to 2160p any time soon.
The need to sell things like 3D televisions and 4K Displays is based on the fact that we all bought HDTV’s that we’re probably happy with. Subsequently, TV manufacturers need to make reasons for us to go out and buy new sets. 3D didn’t stick, 120/240HZ/SmoothMotion doesn’t seem to get people too excited, and can anyone tell me what television stations broadcast in 4K? Or how I can get 4K on demand? Oh wait, Netflix streams in 4K. Well, besides them. FYI, If you have your PlayStation 3 connected to an identified 3D Display, Netflix will add a 3D Category to your browsing that I didn’t know existed.
Playing in 3D on a dedicated 3D display that requires glasses (so, not a 3DS) is hard to explain, but when you get it, it becomes so easy to understand. I was doing a stealth section of Killzone 3, and there was a depth effect when I was lining up my crosshairs over an enemy. I’d never had this before, not this strong, and it became so easy to aim. We see the world in 3D, so having that transferred into a game world makes your brain work not as hard to process the digital image in front of you. I think that’s the best way I can describe it. It’s simply natural.
3D games slowed by 2012, and died altogether, except for some very specific exceptions, like Puppeteer and Hatsune Miku Project Diva F (and that latter one barely counts, 3D is only active in non-interactive modes). Developers won’t be putting in the extra effort to enable stereoscopic 3D in any console games. But it sure was fun while it lasted.