Sony Calls on Game Devs To Use 3D Wisely, 3DS Titles Delayed

There's news from the 3D sphere of both Sony and Nintendo today and neither company sounds particularly cheery.

On the Sony front, 3D development chief Mick Hocking has advocated that developers only use 3D when it actually improves the title as opposed to tacking it on as a bullet point feature.

"It's been a good first year," Sony's 3D chief Mick Hocking told Eurogamer in an interview this afternoon. "We've got 50 million PlayStation 3s that support 3D playback. 3DTVs are selling well. We've had great response from our fans out there at game shows and forums about the 3D games we've produced. But the most important thing is 3D quality."

"We need to, and we're trying to encourage everyone to learn about 3D properly and come and talk to us so we'll support them when they convert the games," said Hocking. "We've spent a lot of time getting great quality across all the PS3 games, and we've had a very good response for that, but it's really important we maintain that level of quality."

"Unfortunately some people are producing poor quality 3D, in all mediums. Over the last 12 months we've seen TV, film, some games, where the quality hasn't been there. It's just a case of people need to understand how to work with 3D, how to make it technically correct and then how to use it creatively."

"Only add 3D where it makes a difference to the gameplay experience. It must add something. Don't just add depth for the sake of it."

Hocking hits the need for quality dead on, but his discussion of 3D TV sales is a bit disingenuous. TVs with 3D capability may be selling well, but that's not quite the same thing. 3D sells for a modest premium at this point and other sources point to manufacturer concerns over whether or not consumers are all that interested in the technology.

Nintendo, meanwhile, is facing concerns of its own over 3DS game launches. Sega announced yesterday that it's delaying the launch of two 3DS-bound titles: Crush 3D is now scheduled to debut on February 21, while Shinobi will drop in time for the Christmas season, on November 15, 2011. There will be a new 3D Mario (and a 3D Mario Kart) available this year as well.

Initial 3DS sales were excellent--Nintendo liquidated its entire inventory of pre-launch 3DS systems--but have lagged thereafter. According to Gamasutra, 3DS sales two months out from launch averaged just 10,600 units sold per day compared to 22,800 DSis and 18,500 PSPs (during the equivalent time period for both systems).  Pundits disagree on whether the decline has been brought on by the 3DS' higher price tag ($250 vs. $189 for the DS XL and $169 for the DSi) or the lack of 3D titles.

If 3D is going to catch on, it's clearly going to take more than a few quarters to do so.