Can Sony really make all existing PS3 games 3D?

Avatar game
James Cameron's Avatar will be the first 3D game on both the Xbox 360 and the PS3, but it has been designed specifically for the effect

With endless analysis that suggests that this particular generation of consoles will be the most enduring yet, it stands to reason that there will be a series of miniature battles for supremacy during the Xbox 360 and PS3's extended lifespan.

Sony appeared to have fired the first real mid-generation salvo at the recent IFA consumer technology show, when it demonstrated PS3s running real time 3D on a new range of consumer Bravia televisions, due to launch in 2010.

Existing games such as Motorstorm, Wipeout HD and Gran Turismo 5: Prologue were paraded in three dimensions and everyone was invited to pick up a Dual Shock 3 and give it a try in real time.

The most tantalising bit of info? That Sony thinks it may be able to convert all existing PlayStation 3 games to 3D with a simple firmware update, because much of the image processing is done by the television itself. It sounds almost too good to be true.

Given that Sony is keeping tight-lipped on the technology behind it, we thought we'd pick the brains of a programmer behind one of the most graphically impressive games on the PS3 at the moment, Colin McRae DiRT 2, to find out whether a 2D game could really be given an extra dimension.

Dirt 2

FULL ON: Colin McRae DiRT 2 is just the kind of graphically intensive game that would be tough to render in 3D using a traditional method

We chose the game not only because it's an example of the current state of the art, but also because it utilises a technique called occlusion, which works out what the player can 'see' and removes unnecessary visual elements to allow for more detail in the scene.

Depending on how drastically the scene is altered to generate the two separate perspectives required for a 3D image, this could be an additional hurdle.