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I’m sure if anyone has been keeping up with news about gaming, or have gone to the movies recently, they have heard of or seen the new trend that’s been sweeping the industry… 3D. While it’s a really cool idea, this technology has been causing some issues among consumers and the gaming industry. For consumers it’s the idea of having to wear glasses for playing games, which some people consider to just look ridiculous and cause eye strain. The bigger issue though is price; the average 3D television costs around $8,000, that’s a pretty penny. The only way for this new technology to take off is for all of the gaming industries to get together and discuss the possible future for this new concept… if there even is one. This is exactly what they did when they met in Los Angeles for the first 3D Gaming Summit.
A few major gaming companies showed up to show off what they have come up with, as well as talk about all of the issues, and advantages that 3D gaming can bring to the industry. Sony and Nvidia made an appearance in this event and showed off all of the technology they have come up with. They showed up with Gran Turismo, MLB 10 the Show, Everquest II, Just Cause 2, and Metro 2033. They all used a special kind of glasses that would catch all of the images on the screen, that can’t be seen normally that are flashed and then put them into the view of your eye, creating what they called an “impressive 3D effect”. The idea of creating a high quality 3D image this way is really intriguing, but it’s still in its early stages of development and as of right now it’s too expensive for the average consumer to buy. Since, it also requires a special kind of monitor as well as the glasses. The only game that was displayed that didn’t require a special kind of powered glasses was Batman: Arkham Asylum.
While the technology is pretty much there to make their dreams of 3D gaming true, the bigger problem is the developers and the hardware manufacturers working together and figuring out how to make this technology work well together. Mark Rein, from Epic Games, is skeptical of 3D gaming but knows it can hold a strong place in the future of gaming. He also made the point that gaming industries will be expected to both keep up the graphics of the game as well as being able to achieve a good quality 3D. Something that obviously isn’t an easy task for developers and the current hardware may not be able to allow them just yet. Luis Giglioti from THQ’s Metro 2033 also made the point that games now would have to think in a 3D world instead of 2D, “comparing how a sniper rifle might work as opposed to a shotgun in a true 3D view”. This is true, with a new idea of gaming always come new gameplay ideas, look at Natal or the Playstation Move. With this technology, the gaming industry needs to think of new ways for players to interact with their games.
Although, as I mentioned before, the technology is there, it’s still in development. Some games showed using the Unreal Engine weren’t calibrated correctly and ended up not working correctly for the show. They ended up being ridiculed by one member of the audience saying, “if they couldn’t get their own technology to display correctly at a conference, then it wouldn’t be any use in the real world” which is true. They had a lot of time to prepare for this conference and if it doesn’t even work correctly now, how can you expect it to work in the houses of consumers now?
Next to talking about if 3D gaming was really the future, or just a dream that causes more problems than anything else, they called up Michael Pachter, Mike Acton from Insomniac, Dave Perry, Kevin Ray from Majesco Entertainment onstage with James Bower a 3D display manufacturer, and Matty Rich a game producer, to discuss this topic. They talked about all of the current issues and what could be done to make this idea grow. The major problem being that we first need the hardware to be there fully developed, with no hardware to work with game developers can’t make any kind of content.
There was also talk of Nintendo’s new DS the 3DS, a DS that can achieve 3D without the use of glasses. They talked saying that Nintendo, as of right now, will have the best success with this 3D technology since the smaller screen makes it more manageable, they would have a large game list, and they have a huge fanbase. Game developers plan to use this as a test to see how popular the idea of 3D gaming is to the average consumer. The show ended with a demonstration of the Playstation Move in 3D, to prove how fast it reacted to sudden movement. They threw the controller in the air, while it was displayed as a blade on screen, and caught it showing how smooth the movement was, as well as how good the 3D looked.
It’s obvious that 3D technology has a future in gaming and developers see it as a way of revolutionizing the way people play games, but there is still much work that has to be done. The developers need a definite piece of hardware to work with, so that they can actually make content. They also need a universal pair of glasses since if each game runs with their own pair of glasses it will cause more problems than anything, with people losing their glasses and having 20 pairs of glasses for different games. The biggest issue is right now is price since no one is going to go buy a whole new television and expansive glasses to play a game. It already cost a good amount to get extra controllers for your consuls so that you and your friends can play together but now you have to buy glasses for them too? This whole idea is just starting to really dig into the consumer’s pocket. Right now the most interesting idea for 3D gaming is the Nintendo 3DS, but I’m still very skeptical, they need to really sell this idea better if they want me on board.
Right now, they say that the full 3D gaming experience is still a few years so I’m willing to give them the chance to get their ideas together and figure out what they need to do, before just marking their ideas off. The future of 3D gaming is still hanging in the air but it has potential, they just need to figure out how to make work and be affordable. Not to mention build games that uses the 3D world to its advantage so it’s just not a gimmick but an actual gameplay component. If they can do this then this will truly be a marking point in the history for games and will lead to a whole new world of game content.