Sony: 720p max resolution for 3D PS3 games

The PS3 is capable of running 1080p, but developers shouldn’t be writing stereoscopic 3D games to push those limits, according to Sony. The news comes from Sony engineer Simon Benson, who made the statement at a recent game developer’s conference in Brighton.

Sony’s official guidelines for 3D games on the PS3 now state that the resolution should be limited to 720p. Also, games such as Super Stardust HD, which have a native 1080p resolution, are scaled back to two 720p images when running in 3D mode, explained Benson during his demonstration.


1080p runs at a resolution of 1920 x 1020 and renders 2.1 million pixels. Comparatively, 720p runs at 1280 x 720 lines of resolution and only has to render 922,000 pixels. PC World does the math to show that running 3D mode in 720p would require only 1.9 million pixels, while a 3D 1080p game would need to render nearly 4.2 million pixels. After looking at these numbers, it’s easy to see why the PS3 would have performance issues while attempting to run a 3D game in 1080p.

Benson downplayed the limitation in his presentation, noting that the difference between 1080p and 720p is difficult to distinguish with the naked eye, even to trained computer graphics artists. Approved stereoscopic 3D output modes for the PS3 include 1024 x 1470, 960 x 1470, 800 x 1470, and 640 x 1470. The hardware scalar on the PS3 has the ability to convert each of these modes up to 1280 x 1470.


This announcement from Sony should be no surprise to MyCE readers. In April, we reported on an article at Eurogamer that explained how 3D PS3 games are made. The article noted that, “3D games will be limited to 720p resolution and 30 Hz, compared to 60 Hz frames per second and 1080 in two dimensions.”

The majority of gamers likely won’t care about this new PS3 guideline and would rather have increased game performance at the expense of pixel count. However, there are sure to be some hard-core videophiles out there that aren’t going to be pleased with a maximum resolution of 720p.

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