Does 3D Gaming Matter?

Lee Vanden Busch February 17, 2010 - 12:00 am

In a word, no. But first, let me backtrack a bit to explain how I get to that conclusion.

Since its introduction last year and subsequent prominence at CES this year, 3D television has been the newest push by electronics companies.

In many cases, networks are already scrambling to provide content for these new sets; ESPN has already announced a 3D only network that will kick off with this year’s upcoming World Cup.

3D Football!

The next logical step, then, has been how to integrate gaming into this new 3D landscape. My response, why rush?

As a whole 3D is still very young, at least as far as the home electronic market is concerned. There is no “standard” format for it yet; just look at the recently released Avatar game and you’ll see a myriad of 3D options in that game alone. 3D doesn’t just work out of the box either; it has to be configured and you have to meet some technical requirements as well.

How do I make my Avatars 3D again...

Currently you must have an HD TV to even think about getting 3D; on top of that most sources are saying that a 1080p signal will be a necessity as well. So all those 720p/1080i sets probably won’t even work.

Another current limitation of 3D at the moment is the necessity of glasses for the effect to work. While 3D glasses have certainly become a bit more hi tech since their red and blue paper iterations, the fact remains that you still have wear them. As a person who wears glasses anyway, I’ve always found most 3D glasses unwieldy and don’t consider having to wear two sets of anything on my face as appealing.

But even with all the technical issues aside my biggest issue with 3D is a fundamental one; does 3D make a game better?

Going from my experience with 3D in the past, it has always seemed liking nothing more than a gimmick. I’ve never seen a movie that was made better because it had 3D; sure it’s cool, and in cases like Avatar, a spectacle, but did it make the movie fundamentally better?

I'm pretty sure he's behind all this 3D TV stuff...

I’ve heard 3D compared to 5.1 surround sound, a comparison I find quite apt. 5.1 does not fundamentally make a media experience better, but it can enhance it.  I think 3D could be described the same way. As a feature it’s probably nice to have, but it doesn’t make the product itself better or worse.

Now I’m not saying that I’m against 3D gaming completely, because it probably could be very cool if done correctly. I simply do not see it as ground breaking. There will no doubt be a time in the near future when 3D is a standard feature on televisions purchased, right there on the box next to the number of HDMI ports and the ability to stream Netflix. But until that happens, and glasses are not needed, you can count me out of the 3D arms race.

But that’s just my opinion readers; what do you think? Is 3D going to save gaming like it’s saving the film industry? Let us hear it!

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