At this years CES all the buzz revolved around 3D TV. Many CE companies from Sony, Samsung to Vizio announced 3D Tv plans. And service providers like Direct TV and networks like ESPN announced plans to launch 3D TV channels int he next 12 months. We have witnessed 3D cinema explode recently with the smash record breaking release of Avatar. But is 3D the future of visual entertainment, or is it just gimmick? And what does 3D mean for gaming?
While 3D TV does sound rather appealing to many there are many hurdles in-front of it, the biggest being are consumers willing to buy new slightly more expensive TV sets after just recently upgrading to HDtv sets. Many consumers have only just recently made the upgrade to HD and with the current world economy they might not be really compelled to upgrade so soon. Unfortunately for 3D TV it’s not as simple as a software upgrade, 3D TVs require different hardware then current HD models. So while players might be able to receive free software based upgrades, TVs can not. Unlike 3D technology of decades past, where red and blue images were presented on screen, Current generation 3D requires two separate images to be projected, and to further enhance the image quality the projection needs to be fined tuned on the fly by the TV set to reduce blurring and other image quality issues.
The next hurdle is the glasses. 3D still requires glasses(though non glasses technology is being worked on) and glasses pose another price issue. Consumers will be required to purchase multiple sets of glasses for each viewer. But besides costs with glasses, do you want to be required to watch with glasses?
Another hurdle is image quality issues. With 3D comes the chances of motion sickness, while this is a case by case issue, do consumers want to risk investing money in something that might make them sick? The last thing you want to deal with while unwinding to your favorite show or game is needing to take a break due to feeling ill.
Now while the technology is being used as a way to enhance movies, by creating a more realistic feeling of depth, we haven’t heard any talk of how this might be adapted to games. 3D has many possible pluses in gaming, from the simple feeling of depth. To possibly creating new ways heads up displays are presented. Imagine playing Halo and getting a real feeling of being in the helmut of Master Chief, instead of a flat HUD you might get the curvature of your helmet. Or playing Modern Warfare and bullets, explosions and debris really do wiz past your head. While there are many options to incorporate 3D in gaming especially with the motion control movement later this year, but the possible price and physical issues(motion sickness) might become more of an issue. Many people experience more motion sickness from FPS games due to the quick motions and who knows what type of pricing we might experience of game hardware and even software made for 3D.
3D TV is still in it’s infancy, and while hardware companies, service providers and TV networks are making a big push, there are still many obstacles and it will come down to the consumer. 3D might not become mainstream, however it might find itself a niche audience and it will be interesting to see how gaming incorporates the technology in the coming years.