So there I was, playing a demo of Silent Hill: Downpour in Konami’s E3 booth, and all I could think about was how I’d rather be at a different kiosk.
You see, I was playing Silent Hill’s Playstation 3 version, with a pair of stereoscopic 3D glasses affixed to my head. The guy next to me was playing the Xbox 360 version in 2D. The difference in smoothness and visual fidelity was all too obvious.
This wasn’t the only example. Earlier in the day, I had a meeting with Sega to check out Sonic Generations, another game that will support 3D on the Playstation 3. As the demo began, my heart sank. Although the visuals looked fine, the reduced framerate of 3D nearly ruined the experience. Later, I found a kiosk at Sega’s booth with the 2D version on display, and again, I was much happier. The game’s producer, Takashi Iizuka, confirmed that framerates are lower in the 3D version.
It’s no secret that 3D causes a drop in performance, because each eye requires a separate image. This is especially the case in video games, which require lots of intensive graphics processing. But I never noticed the issue on Sony’s own 3D games. When I played Killzone 3 in 3D at CES last January, the game looked great, even if the 3D effect itself was somewhat distracting.
But as more publishers slap 3D onto their blockbuster games, we’re going to start seeing some unfavorable implementations, and I’ve encountered my first examples at E3 2011. I won’t judge the final products of Konami and Sega by what’s on display here, but I’m certainly not sold.