Why Sony wants Nintendo's 3DS to succeed...

Posted by Mark Raby

Sony is so desperate to make gamers interested in 3D that it is actually going out on a limb and saying flattering things about Nintendo's own 3D handheld gaming system.

In a recent interview with Silicon Era, Sony Computer Entertainment America's marketing VP Peter Dille says he hopes the people at Nintendo "do a great job" with the 3DS. That's not something you commonly hear a company say about one of its arch rivals.

But the fact is, as Dille points out, "Collectively, we [the entire industry] need to make sure a consumer has a good experience with 3D however they're experiencing it."

If people become interested in the 3DS, they'll realize how much better a 3D gaming experience is. Then, they'll becoming "interested in other 3D platforms," Dille hopes. So the 3DS will essentially be the gateway device.

The 3DS uses a technology called autostereoscopic 3D, which is able to present the same sort of sense of effect as other 3D media, but without glasses. It's built into the screen itself, with thousands of tiny mirrors that make a flat display appear as though it has depth.

Nintendo has been less flattering about Sony. In its E3 presentation where it debuted the 3DS, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime mocked Sony's approach and the fact that PS3 3D gamers need to wear special 3D glasses. But Sony has also previously diminished Nintendo's system, saying it isn't "true" 3D and faces technological limitations.

It makes Microsoft the outcast, as the only console maker that has shown no real interest in 3D gaming. The company has said 3D games are possible on the Xbox 360, just like the PS3, but it has no plans to create any first-party 3D games or to promote the console's 3D capabilities.

As someone who owns a 3D TV and has dabbled with all of the PS3's 3D games to date, I'm personally captivated by it, and the glasses are not a big deal to me. But investing heavily into such a technology is a risk, especially since the glasses-required and glasses-free standards are now posing a sort of ad hoc format war. And the last thing Sony wants at this point is for there to be any confusion about 3D.