Call me a pessimist in 3 dimensions…

I’ll admit right here and now; I am not enthused about the whole ‘3D gaming’ idea.

Now bear with me while I defend myself a little- I know change is inevitable (except from a vending machine) and technology must progress to keep the buying public interested. And just because it’s something ‘crazy new’ does not mean I’m scared of it because I’m too used to the way things are. I’ve already had both those arguments thrown at me.

I just can’t imagine it being the next big thing. Motion controllers I thought were a great innovation as they changed the gaming world in a way that I could see being popular; and I think I have been justified in my thinking, seeing as both Playstation Move and Kinect are due to ship in the not-so-distant future. But 3D gaming…it doesn’t give me the same feeling of ‘I want to spend time looking into it, as I might invest in this radical new idea’.

The sciencey part of me knows one problem is the fact that there are some medical conditions that affects people’s natural 3D vision; I know at least one person who suffers from amblyopia and two people who suffer from strabismus, none of whom would be be able to appreciate a 3D game as much a people with full, unobstructed sight. Nintendo was first off the 3D mark with the (slightly leaked) announcement of the 3DS, and followed up similar ‘stereovision problem’ questions with the news that players would be able to turn off the 3D in favour of traditional 2D.
Now, forgive me for seeming negative again, but even this move will result in a small proportion of their potential market feeling that there is no point spending a lot of money (expected price is between $150-200) on a system where they won’t be able to enjoy the primary function that it was made for. They would be better off keeping their DSi.

At least the 3DS is glasses-free. 3D glasses are not cheap. Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, LG and Panasonic have all announced or released their first 3D television upon the world. But there are three different types of 3D technology, all of which require different types of glasses (from what my small amount of research has gathered)- passive, active shutter or Infitec (Dolby 3-D). I did find information on a concept 3D TV that doesn’t require glasses, but the article did state that watchers began to feel seasick after a while. Hmm. Maybe not then.
I was amazed to find that the glasses themselves are selling for between £50 and £90 per pair. Until prices drop dramatically (and I assume this to be round about the same time as the novelty wearing off), I don’t really see families buying into the 3D world. £2000 on a 3D TV, then possibly purchasing a DVD/Blu-Ray player able to cope with 3D, add in possible premiums for 3D content from Virgin Media and Sky, and THEN throw in the cost of extra pairs of glasses for the other half, children and potential family members who drop round? Especially with the financial situation how it is at the moment, 3D entertainment can safely be classed as a ‘luxury’ in my book.

3D gaming. It was showcased at this year’s E3, and so far I have heard mixed reviews on it. Is it really giving anything extra to a game? I’m all for immersivity and feeling like you’re actually part of the game, but I’ve been sucked into a number of games through the narrative content and engaging gameplay alone. ‘Aha, but think of racing games!’, you may cry. And you have a point. I’ve always been a keen fan of the driving/racing genre, and having the dashboard feel as if it’s a foot from your face would certainly get you more ‘into’ the race. But again, if you like racing games it’s probably because you enjoy the adrenalin or the competitive element; pretty visuals and the accurate roars of engines are bonuses. So a different type of ‘pretty visual’ might not change much.

Maybe I just need to wait for more to be told about the upcoming ‘3D revolution’. Maybe more details will convince me that this will be more than just a passing fad. Until them, I’m more than happy to blow things to pieces in two dimensions on Split/Second: Velocity.

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~ by Tegan on June 22, 2010.

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