Variety reports that Ubisoft’s Avatar: The Game will be available on December 1st, less than three weeks before the film. As already demonstrated on MTBS, they confirmed that it was James Cameron’s enthusiasm that helped spur Ubisoft to implement S-3D support.
Patrick Naud, Executive Producer of Avatar: The Game, Ubisoft (left)
Neil Schneider, President, Meant to be Seen (right)
However, while Variety has earned their tenured place when it comes to covering the movie industry, even the S-3D movie industry, they are clearly out of their element in gaming as demonstrated with this statement:
"While movie-goers are excited about Cameron’s first cinematic release since Titanic, the gaming world hasn’t exactly been clamoring for the title. It will likely do well, as followers of the director and fans of the movie grab a copy – but don’t be surprised if the game fails to crack the year’s Top 10 when they’re calculated at the end of December." - Variety
We can’t help but wonder if Variety has selective hearing. For those unfamiliar, Jeffrey Katzenberg is the CEO of Dreamworks Animation, and is one of S-3D cinema’s top advocates both verbally and financially. Is their malaise towards S-3D gaming at all related to their failure to acknowledge Katzenberg’s infamous words "3D in the home will be lead by gamers"? The same remark which has been echoed two years in a row at the 3D Entertainment Summit? Perhaps more amazing is that in their follow-up interview(s) with Katzenberg, they continually fail to discuss this critical statement, arguably the most newsworthy remark a journalist could ever get his hands on!
When Variety convincingly explains away their two year journalistic gaffe, their remarks about S-3D gaming will hold more water.
We will wait and see how Avatar: The Game performs. It should be made clear that while it has been optimized for S-3D gaming, it is equally playable on traditional console and PC solutions. If the story is sound and the graphics and game play are enjoyable, Avatar has just as much top ten potential as any other title. While the stereoscopic 3D benefits are optional and welcomed, their existence is not a deterrent for hitting a top ten status. As more S-3D HDTVs hit store shelves, it will be a requirement.
EDIT: Looks like Variety has re-awakened our faith in them! While we still don’t agree with their Avatar conclusions, we can now backtrack our earlier remarks and criticisms about their journalistic gaffe! In a separate story, Variety has acknowledged the importance of S-3D gaming through their coverage of Rob Engle’s presentation at the SMPTE conference! In it, Rob echoes Jeffrey Katzenberg’s words:
"(Rob) Engle, the senior stereographer and 3D visual effects supervisor for Sony Pictures Imageworks, predicted gaming and sports would drive early adopters of home S3D TV, and consumers will follow." - Variety
Way to go Variety! This was a story worth printing!
This weekend, the Personal Computer Museum was having a special Windows 7 event to talk about some of the enhancements it has over Windows XP and Vista. The core message to walk away with: "fast, faster, faster"!
This optimized performance has to do with boot-up and OS related activities. For the gamers amongst us (this means you), the available benchmarks for Windows 7 shows just a marginal improvement compared to Vista, if at all.
Syd Bolton, Curator of the Personal Computer Museum
What does this mean for S-3D gamers?
NVIDIA has been promoting their stereoscopic 3D drivers as Windows 7 compatible for some time, so any remaining OS related issues should be considered short term bugs.
We have confirmed with DDD that their drivers work with both 32 and 64 bit Windows 7 versions, but the game support is limited to titles using 32 bit native code at this time.
iZ3D has unofficial Windows 7 support, and we have not received word on any limitations to do with 32 or 64 bit versions. While they are going through a debugging process to be sure, we have been given no reason to hold back on upgrading - but this is still considered "unofficial" support. Finally, there have been rumblings that the nature of Windows 7 has opened the door to CrossfireX and SLI support, but we don’t have the means to confirm this yet.
The Visual Effects Society (VES) has begun its invitation process for VES Awards entries.
For those unfamiliar, VES works with and recognizes the top special effects artists from around the world. Member fields include feature film, television, advertising, and of course, video games. MTBS is pleased to report that for the first time, VES will be accepting stereoscopic 3D entries for their eighth awards ceremony.
Reading through the application process, it is clear that the entries will likely be focused on S-3D in cinema, and since this is a new technology category, the rules of submission are a work in progress. It will be interesting to see if any video games are submitted for review, and what conditions qualify a video game for stereoscopic eligibility.