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Opinion: Is 3D gaming the future?

Which the recent price cut and poor sales of the 3DS, it seems a good time to question whether 3D gaming is actually the future of gaming at all? While I think we can all agree that ’3D gaming is here and by all looks it’s here to stay’. We can also understand the reasons for  Cinema to jump for the new technology; increased security and some more impressive vistas. But gaming already has some of the best graphics on offer, so what can we possibly get out of this new development in the ever increasing world of visual stimulation?

Sony has been blowing this trumpet for the last few months saying that the PlayStation 3 will be the only console that will offer full fat 3D-o-vision, giving you the stereoscopic experience that you get in the cinema. But that promise seems a little way off as there is currently no games able to produce this level of detail at all and none that are on the horizon either. More interestingly about this is that adding 3D technology to previous games is mooted as easy to do, indeed Stig Asmussen, God of War 3’s game director even stated so in an interview with NowGamer.

I know that it is something, having talked to one of our engineers, that we could do, we don’t have one of those 3D TVs so we wouldn’t be able to see what it looked like if we’re able to do it, and I’m sure that it would require a little bit of ramp up to do it, but from my understanding it’s not incredibly complicated.

Moreover, back in January this year John Koller talked up Sony’s plans for this technology saying via the PS EU Blog:

Out of the box, the PS3 is great, because as many people know who are watching this, you don’t need to do anything with your PS3. It’s gonna take just a simple firmware update–most people do those firmware updates regularly–that’s all it’s going to take to acclimate [any] PS3 to 3D gaming.

You will need a 3D TV and glasses, but to…have that kind of complete experience with the PS3, it’s just a simple firmware update.

This if true would put a different spin on things for the idea that 3D gaming is hard to do for hardware and software.

Then again we had our first taste of 3D in the (not-so stereoscopic) Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year edition. Which while does give you a 3D effect doesn’t give you the full fat one promised by Sony. But it is still an impressive feat for gaming and does look pretty good. That said, you do have to wear those stupid glasses with the green and red lenses that I remember having when I was a kid in the early 90′s looking at ‘cool’ 3D dinosaur pictures. So not the coolest thing in the world, but at least only your nearest and dearest will be around to laugh at you and put the video on YouTube.

But then, we do have Nintendo’s attempt into the world of 3D which is much more err… public. The DS’s next evolution is not a Bulbsaur coloured one that has a giant plant on it to charge the batteries but instead has a new 3D screen. This is again not true 3D but instead having two screens that adjust to give the effect of 3D, so you really seem yourself sitting on the tube experiencing your favourite Pokemon (hence the Pokemon set-up) jumping out at you from the ‘tall grass’. No! me neither. Which has been clearly shown over the last few months with the lack of sales and impending price cut.

The introduction of the 3D world to gaming as it stands is nothing special at the moment, but it is worth noting that it all boils down to glasses. I mean, even with the full fat 3D version we still have to wear glasses that make you look like Joe 90 or Buddy Holly (you pick which one is worst). Also not to mention that you need a spare 2-5 grand to get the TV that can do the full 3D-o-vision at the moment. Although there is the rumoured PlayStation TV that will give us an affordable 3D gaming experience and actually uses the technology in a much more interesting way than the bog standard 3D-o-Vision, giving us a split screen experience with a single TV.

Not the best start but I am willing to say that I am going to sit on the fence on this one as the concept is there for something special perhaps, but with the amount of titles actually bothering to offer something 3D startlingly small is it really worth a look yet?

Edited On 05 Aug, 2011

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