Yesterday, Sony announced the launch of the PS3’s 3D capabilities in a surprisingly lackluster manner to a largely unaffected and uninterested fan base. While it’s entirely possible that gamers that should care about 3D gaming simply didn’t hear about it, it’s equally probable that most weren’t intrigued at all by a launch lineup that would be considered lame even by N64 standards.
The only games available in 3D as of today are three PSN titles and one PS3 demo: Super Stardust HD, WipEout HD, Pain and Motorstorm: Pacific Rift, respectively. And while PlayStation honcho Jack Tretton has gone on record stating that Gran Turismo 5 and MLB The Show 10 will someday be available in 3D along with the motion-controlled The Fight: Lights Out, no one seems to know exactly when that might happen.
On top of this dearth of games that anyone cares about, the entry price to 3D gaming is still prohibitively expensive, especially since many consumers are just getting comfortable with HDTVs and Blu-Ray movies. Another format at this point and in the current economy just seems confusing and unnecessary, not to mention that fact that those new-fangled 3D glasses that you’ll need to pick up for the rest of your family are far from inexpensive.
Ever since the PlayStation brand hit marketing gold with its comedic everyman executive Kevin Butler and the “It Only Does Everything” tag-line it has been easy to be a PS3 fanboy. Unfortunately, this focus on 3D seems like a return to the days of the PS3 launch, when consumers were advised to stop whining about the price and get a second job. It’s conceivable that Sony is attempting to sell a product that only celebrities and Wall Street fat cats can easily afford, but it’s hard to imagine that there isn’t something else going on here.
Of course, Sony isn’t a stranger to marketing mishaps, the whole first two years of the Ps3 come to mind, but this seemingly forced launch almost seems like a set-up for something else. Is Sony trying to position itself as the leader in 3D before Nintendo officially shows off the 3DS? Does Jack Tretton have an ace up his sleeve? Or does somebody in sales just really need to sell a ton of Bravia TVs to get their quarterly bonus?
My guess is that we’ll find out at E3. What’s yours?