Sony explains 720p cap on 3D games

UPDATED: PS3 games already in 1080p will be downscaled for stereoscopic play

Sony's official guidelines state that developers may not create 1080p versions of their 3D PlayStation 3 games, due to frame-rate limitations.

The confirmation was made by Simon Benson, senior development manager of Worldwide Studios' stereoscopic team, at the Develop conference last week.

According to Joystiq, Benson claimed the higher resolution made it harder to maintain 60 frames per second, and that any games already running at 1080p would be downscaled to 720p.

While, following a firmware update due later this year, the console will be able to play 3D Blu-Ray discs at 1080p, stereoscopic content at the higher resolution is limited to 24 frames per second, the frame-rate of film projectors.

Digital Foundry has clarified to that this is a necessary requirement of the HDMI connection, not of the PlayStation 3 particularly.

"It's simply the case that the new stereo 3D support built into the HDMI 1.4 spec is specifically designed for Blu-Ray movie playback at a movie standard of 24 frames per second, making the full HD mode a poor fit for gaming. In a world where games are created to run either at 30 or 60 frames per second, dropping down to 24FPS means a jerkier image and a more muted response from the controls.

"There's certainly no lack of support from the PS3 itself either, as even in the current 3.40 firmware - which doesn't support Blu-Ray 3D movies - the mode is clearly recognised and available for use by the console."

While Benson said Sony currently strictly limits all 3D game output to 720p - with previously 1080p title Super Stardust HD being downscaled for its stereoscopic remake - it was possible that a slower-paced, "more cinematic game" would allow some relaxation of the rule.

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Latest comments (5)

Richard Leadbetter Director, Digital Foundry8 years ago
Actually it's all to do with the HDMI 1.4 spec. This limits 1080p to 24fps per eye, while 720p gets full fat 60fps. Not really much Sony can do about that...
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Stephen Northcott Senior Consulting Engineer 8 years ago
I'd be surprised if people could actually see the difference anyway.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Stephen Northcott on 19th July 2010 10:15am

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David Amirian Writer 8 years ago
i probably could tell you that i'd see a difference. but whether or not i cared enough...
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Doug Paras8 years ago
This is exactly why TV and Satellite companies are pushing 3D TV cause they can put caps on HD and not have to charge any less and save the massive amounts of bandwidth its taking to put out HD.
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Josef Brett Animator 8 years ago
Framerate is more important to me than graphics anyway, so as long as they can maintain near 60fps then I'll be happy.
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