E3: Sony Courts Gamers in Bid to Spur 3DTV Sales

Resistance 3 Screen Grab 2011

Resistance 3

Bundling a game like "Resistance 3" with a PlayStation-branded 24-inch 3D display and glasses is intended to hook customers.

3DTV set-makers are looking to gamers as a potential market for 3DTV upgrades.

While 3DTV has been hailed as the wave of the future, 3D is actually one of the weakest drivers of new TV replacements, according to a study by research firm DisplaySearch that was released Wednesday.

Other features like LED backlight and Internet connectivity, though both also received low ratings in the U.S. and most other developed countries, still rated higher than 3D.

In an attempt to counteract that resistance, though, set-makers are bundling 3D movies with new sets as one incentive for 3DTV purchases, and they are also actively courting the gaming community.

This week at E3, for example, Sony introduced a strategy that involves bundling a PlayStation-branded 24-inch 3D display with a 6-foot HDMI cable, a pair of PlayStation-branded active 3D glasses and a copy of Resistance 3 for $499.

"We know gaming is a key driver to 3D adoption," Susan Panico, senior director of PlayStation Network, told The Hollywood Reporter of the company's strategy. "The 24-inch display is a great point of entry, whether you are in a college dorm or your bedroom at home, in getting the younger gamers into 3D. And these games like Resistance 3 are phenomenal and take it to a whole different level. Bringing this content to them is really going to drive the adoption."

Sony reported that 108 stereoscopic 3D game titles are available for PlayStation3. Additionally, PlayStation Network currently offers 10 3D movie titles plus additional video content. The company reported that earlier this year, the release of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2011: The 3D Experience counted 83,000 3D downloads in the in first week, compared with 48,000 for the 2D version of the video.

The new Sony full HD LCD display also comes equipped with a new feature that Sony said would allow two individuals playing a multiplayer game to see individual, unique, full-screen images of gameplay using the bundled 3D glasses and supported software titles.

The active glasses in the PlayStation bundle can also be used with any Sony 3DTV, as well as select 3DTVs from third-party manufacturers. The bundle will be available in the fall. The glasses will also be sold separately for $69.99.

During E3, Microsoft had a more cautious approach to 3D. "It's reasonably important; it's technology that is progressing forward," Marc Whitten, corporate vp at Xbox Live, told THR. "You are going to see more 3D movies and games. I think it will be a while for the adoption to really catch up, but it is something that as people get these devices into their homes, we'll support in a great way."