Given Sony's aggressive push for 3D on PlayStation 3, the absence of 3D on its upcoming Vita handheld has seemed odd. Nintendo released a glasses-free 3D portable with the 3DS--why not match it feature-for-feature?
Sony Europe's Mick Hocking has opened up about the variety of reasons behind the decision, but the main sticking point seems to be the gyroscopic controls in the Vita, and how glasses-less 3D is disrupted by movement.
"At the time we were looking at Vita, there were several issues," Hocking told GameSpot at Gamescom 2011. "One was the quality of the glasses-free 3D screens. It can work very well on small screens, but to get the best effect, you need to keep your head very, very still. Now with a handheld gaming device and Vita having Sixaxis motion control in it, there may be gameplay where you're moving the Vita around. And if you're doing that and having glasses-free 3D, the two things don't sit very well together. We wanted to offer a really, really high-resolution OLED screen, and the best way to do that was in 2D. At least for the first one."
Of course, the 3DS does actually have gyroscopic controls along with its 3D, but that has led to the kinds of struggles Hocking refers to. Games like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D in particular have had a hard time reconciling the two features.
Shifting to Sony's own experience with 3D, Hocking commented on a "strong correlation" between good 3D content and a good fan response. "The opposite is also true. When people see 3D that doesn't work very well, or content that isn't very compelling, I think quite naturally they're not as interested in it."