Tokyo event showcases fledgling 3D gaming

The Tokyo Game Show has a lot of people wearing dark glasses this year, with the buzz turning 3D at the annual event that brings together the latest offerings from game-machine and software makers.

But despite the fanfare and razzle-dazzle footage, people checking out 3D games for the PlayStation 3 at Sony's sprawling booth were warned to take the special glasses off immediately, should they feel sick or giddy.



And Nintendo, also hoping for a boost from 3D technology with its planned 3DS handheld that's set to go on sale before April, was conspicuously absent.



The event previewed to reporters and guests Thursday ahead of its opening to the public this weekend. It is expected to draw more than 180,000 people.



Kyoto-based Nintendo, the manufacturer of the Wii console and Super Mario games, is skipping the show and planning a separate 29 September event, also at Makuhari Messe hall in this Tokyo suburb, where the 3DS is expected to take centerstage.



"It's like the elephant in the room," said gaming expert Mark MacDonald, executive director at Tokyo-based 8-4 Ltd., which brings Japanese games to the US.



MacDonald said visitors like him were watching for what he called "peripherals" for machines already on sale such as the Move motion-controller from Sony and Kinect from Microsoft Corp., billed as controller-free because it detects a player's movements.



The show's focus was obviously on 3D but the full potential of 3D for games has yet to be explored, he told The Associated Press.



"It's a young technology in terms of games. People don't know yet how much is too much," MacDonald said. "You might start feeling sick, or you just want to see the game and feel I can't see what's going on."

Tokyo-based Sony announced that its PlayStation 3 game console will work as a Blu-ray disc player for 3D movies and music videos, not just 3D games, with a software update download starting 21 September.



The free-of-charge update for movies and other content had been promised for later this year. But the date was moved up to ride on the momentum of 3D popularity, Sony executive Hiroshi Kawano said.



"The appeal and impact of games will be definitely enhanced with 3D technology," he said during a two-hour presentation at the Sony booth. "The industry has gained a new engine for growth in 3D."



Kawano said the portion of 3D TVs will likely move up from 5 percent of all TV sets sold this year to 20 percent next year. Sony aims to sell 2.5 million 3D TVs next year, he said.



The PlayStation 3 already plays 3D games with an upgrade that could be done over the Internet earlier this year.



Some of the 3D games shown at the event, such as a clip of the planned "Metal Gear Solid," were as impressive as 3D movies in providing visceral computer graphics and illusion of depth. But others, such as 3D versions of racing games, looked disappointingly similar to their 2D predecessors.



The reason more time is needed for 3D gaming to take off for home consoles is that it requires a 3D TV set, which cost about £1500 or more. Software makers are waiting for sales of the TVs to increase before investing in developing 3D games, says Yusuke Tsunoda, analyst at Tokai Tokyo Securities in Tokyo.



"It still remains to be seen whether 3D gaming is going to provide a genuinely new experience," he said. "But it is a big opportunity like a gift that's dropped from the sky."



Among other news at the game show was Sony's Move motion-controller, going on sale Sept. 19 in the U.S. and 21 October in Japan.



A 5,980 yen (£45) "starter kit" for the Move comes with software called "Beat Sketch!" which allows people to make computer-graphic paintings on the TV screen using the motion-controller stick.



Move and Kinect are both answers to the enormously successful Wii wand-controller from Nintendo.



Separately, Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft's games division, announced five new partnerships with Japanese studios and declared the country's creativity as key to its Xbox 360 console's future.



He said Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, plans to help Japanese game makers - recently seen as insular and lagging overseas competitors - to aggressively pursue a bigger share of the global market.



"Japanese games are the games that the world loves to play," Spencer said in a keynote speech.



Jay Defibaugh, analyst with MF Global FXA Securities, believes 3-D gaming is the perfect way for Sony to differentiate itself from Microsoft, which does not offer 3-D, as well as from Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea, which makes 3D TVs but doesn't have movies or games businesses.



Pushing 3D gaming may, in the long run, boost Sony's movies and music businesses, as well as its TV and Blu-ray recorder operations, he said.



"Obviously, Sony as a whole looks at 3D very strategically," Defibaugh said.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Extras
indybest
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
Sport
Lionel Messi looks on at the end of the final
football
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
news
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Content Manager - Central London

    £35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Central...

    Java Developer

    £45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: JAVA DEVELO...

    Microsoft Dynamics AX Developer

    £475 - £550 per day: Progressive Recruitment: MDAX / Dynamics AX / Microsoft D...

    .Net/ C# Developer/ Analyst Programmer - Eciting new Role

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .NET/ C# .Pr...

    Day In a Page

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on