Sony: 3D costs as low as 'half a percent' of overhead

With excitement for 3D movies waning, and adoption of 3D televisions still low, many have openly wondered: "is it worth it?" Sony's Simon Benson argues that the low amount of effort it takes to implement the technology makes it an easy choice.

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Sony is easily one of the most vocal supporters of 3D content in the marketplace. Many of its upcoming first-party titles, including Resistance 3 and Uncharted 3, support stereoscopic 3D. However, with excitement for 3D movies waning, and adoption of 3D televisions still low, many have openly wondered: "is it worth it?" Simon Benson, SCEE's senior development manager and 3D evangelist, obviously thinks so. He argues that the low amount of effort it takes to implement the technology makes it an easy choice. "It's not a significant overhead for us. It’s not like we have to justify being able to sell millions millions more games because of it, it’s just another feature of the game." Speaking to GI.biz, Benson says that the cost of 3D on overall performance is rather low, especially if the game supports a split-screen mode:
What we’re talking about here is, in some cases we’ve had titles where 3D has been half a per cent of overhead. It can literally be the render programmer spending a couple of weeks manipulating it. Particularly if a game already has split screen in it, just take that mode of the game and reauthor it to deliver really high quality 3D. So often it’s the case of it doesn’t even hit the radar of whether we should or shouldn’t, it can just be done.
But isn't Benson concerned about the low adoption rates of 3DTVs? His inability to offer concrete sales figures of Sony's own 3DTVs should be some indication that 3D has, simply put, not caught on. That's no worry to Benson, who points to the future. "I think what probably going to happen over time is it’ll be the case like now, if you try and go out and buy an standard definition TV you probably just wouldn’t be able to." Sony plans on releasing a PlayStation-branded 3DTV, a first for the company, later this year.

The PlayStation 3DTV is 24", will retail for $500

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 4, 2011 9:45 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Sony: 3D costs as low as 'half a percent' of overhead.

    With excitement for 3D movies waning, and adoption of 3D televisions still low, many have openly wondered: "is it worth it?" Sony's Simon Benson argues that the low amount of effort it takes to implement the technology makes it an easy choice.

    • reply
      August 4, 2011 9:56 AM

      This whole "3D" thing that's going on now...to me it's like calling 80's sidescrollers with multiple background layers and a parallax effect "three-dimensional" compared to Space Invaders. Give me volumetric display and I'll call it 3D.

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        August 4, 2011 10:03 AM

        I don't understand how it's not 3D. Each eye is presented two slightly different views. That's how it works in reality, too. What's the difference?

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          August 4, 2011 10:12 AM

          Inability to change the depth on which you're attempting to focus. You're stuck with what was filmed.

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            August 4, 2011 10:20 AM

            I've figured this is why I don't like 3D movies, my eyes are always trying to focus at the wrong depth. The image converges at a variable depth but the eye focus is stuck on a fixed distance, the screen it's projected on. Makes the entire movie experience jarring, distracting, and ultimately less immersible than a traditional film. Which is why after seeing Avatar and one other 3D movie, I have not and i will not see another until there is a new generation of tech.

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              August 4, 2011 10:21 AM

              immersible = immersive.

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              August 4, 2011 11:50 AM

              I have seen Avatar and Thor in 3D. I thought the 3D in Avatar was exciting, perhaps because it was a new experience. After Thor, I vowed to never see another film in 3D. Made the film ugly and horrible to watch.

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                August 4, 2011 12:55 PM

                I found Avatar's 3D nice because I thought it was subtle. It was used as a visual effect, not a focus point. When I saw Harry Potter 8, the 3D was horrible and it was obvious exactly when you were supposed to notice it. (Most jarring, the final scene with the falling debris. It covers the entire screen in multiple layers just screaming "Look at me!!!!")

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                  August 4, 2011 1:14 PM

                  But I actually like the 'look at me' moments because they do immerse you and really bring out the sense of depth capable with stereo viewing. Why else would I wear those shitty glasses?!?!?

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          August 4, 2011 10:14 AM

          I assume he's arguing illusion of depth vs depth. You can't look at it from different angles, etc.

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          August 4, 2011 10:17 AM

          Have you ever watched Captain EO when it was at Disney? That was what 3D should be. Everything else since has paled in comparison.

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          August 4, 2011 10:34 AM

          At the moment, from what I've seen anyways, it's a few flat plains (this is especially visible with people), instead of visibly infinite, which breaks the illusion.

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          August 4, 2011 10:43 AM

          When you tilt your head the image does not tilt with you, for one. The main problem with current 3D though is brightness, brightness, brightness. If it was as bright as your current TV everyone would be nutting their pants with how awesome it is.

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        August 4, 2011 10:37 AM

        I hope it dies soon so they can start investing in glasses-less tvs and then holograms. Then i will adopt 3d. Not until then.

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          August 4, 2011 10:41 AM

          I don't see why they aren't making tv's with double the horizontal the resolution so that using a parallax barrier wouldn't effectively halve the source resolution. More expensive? Yes, but I bet people would be happier with that than with glasses.

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            August 4, 2011 10:52 AM

            Parrallax barriers are the only known way to have glasses-free 3D, and that has severe limitations (which is why you only see if on tiny, single-person devices like the 3DS or small monitors). I don't think you'll get what you want in your lifetime, but who knows.

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              August 4, 2011 10:56 AM

              Sorry - my mistake, I was thinking of polarization, not parallax.

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                August 4, 2011 10:57 AM

                (Cheapo polarized glasses being preferable to active shutter)

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          August 4, 2011 2:48 PM

          What about the tech in the 3DS? Probably too limited of a field of view for practical TV use I'm guessing?

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            August 4, 2011 3:50 PM

            Yes, though adjustable lenticular lens arrays with face/eye tracking are both viable and actually shipping in products this year (in fact this month).

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      August 4, 2011 10:16 AM

      If the costs to implement is so low, why are consumers being charged a premium for the feature? :(

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      August 4, 2011 11:33 AM

      The 3D in the Uncharted 3 beta was pretty damn good. I got my 3DTV when Best Buy was having a sale on most of them, and I've got some decent use out of it since with movies and the like. It's a neat novelty, but not enough to warrant a new TV for most.

      Although, now that passive 3D displays can be bought for fairly cheap, I think a few more people might get interested.

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        August 4, 2011 4:11 PM

        if you're gonna buy a new tv, theres really no reason not to go 3D

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          August 4, 2011 4:37 PM

          Aren't prices higher?

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          August 4, 2011 5:39 PM

          Yeah, extra features don't cost anything, nor add unnecessary components which make the design more complex (and breakable)

          It just happens!

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      August 4, 2011 12:18 PM

      Active shutter glasses, no thanks.

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      August 4, 2011 1:22 PM

      He makes a point at the end regarding 3d, at some point all tvs will be 3d by slowly making them all 120hz . Its going to come to a point where it just becomes hard to buy an hdtv without it being 3d ready, practically all the tvs released this year are 3d capable, next year even more so.

      Also Uncharted 3 looks ridiculous in 3d.

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      August 4, 2011 1:30 PM

      don't care how cheap it is if I actively dislike 3d movies compared to the 2d version. If there are other people like me, even a small amount is money you are throwing away to make things worse

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      August 4, 2011 2:40 PM

      This has always been why I don't get the hoopla over 3D. The transition to 3D is much more natural and seamless than it was from SD to HD. Its a minor augmentation of existing hardware, where has HD required a whole different standard of manufacturing and investment for the consumer. It seems like the question is almost the opposite of what the article proposes. Not "how many people are choosing to buy 3D tvs," but how many people buy tvs without knowing or caring that they're 3D. 3D implementation will work over time when in 5 years Avatar 2 comes out on BluRay and millions of people already own HD 3D tv sets. They're going to opt for watching the 3D version of the movie when that happens.

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        August 4, 2011 3:31 PM

        If you own a non 3d hdtv or bluray player then it requires another investment from the consumer. The essence of your argument seems contradictory, as the situation is the same as it was from SD -> HD. You either have the capable hardware, or you buy a new one which probably adheres to the new standards.

        Secondly, not everyone likes 3d, so your assumption on this is a baseless generalization.

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          August 4, 2011 5:16 PM

          Its not the same situation as it was from SD to HD because people largely still updating to HD tv sets. HD is a resolution that can only be really seen in 40+ inch televisions---that represents a fundamental change in investment from consumers. By comparison 3D doesn't require say a 60 inch tv. Its more like 1080p vs 720p, or progressive scanning on DVD players or something. 3D tvs don't cost significantly more than non 3D tvs. HD tvs cost usually over a thousand dollars more than their SD counterparts. That's why its different.

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        August 4, 2011 4:24 PM

        Why? Image quality is inferior, 3D effect isn't that great, and glasses aren't great either.

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      August 4, 2011 3:39 PM

      I have no interest in 3D, if anything it's backfiring for TV manufacturers. I will no longer upgrade to a 65" for a casual purchase due to this limbo. I'm now on hold until these idiots decide what to do.

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      August 4, 2011 10:36 PM

      Why the mention of split screen? Does this mean that the split-screen tech touted by the "PS3 TV" announced at E3 will also be applied to existing Sony TVs? That would be very cool, especially since I just picked up a new BRAVIA 3D TV with a couple of 3D glasses.

      The 3D feature of the TV was not a major factor in the purchase. I just wanted a good 40" TV with a good picture, 120Hz for gaming and a decent set of features, all for under $1000. When the exact TV I was looking for dropped to $900, the fact that it could also do 3D was a bonus, and hardly affected the price compared to what else was out there. I'm just glad that when Uncharted 3 ships that I'll finally be able to experience the fantastic 3D that the journalists keep talking about. I've watched a couple of movies on the set now however, and comparing it to the passive glass technology out there right now, I have to say that Active Shutter is far, far better.

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      August 5, 2011 1:38 AM

      Unfortunately the human eye and brain are trained for real depth of vision instead of the "3D" technology with simulated depth perception.http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2011/01/post_4.html