Last week, the CEO and Co-Founder of Magnetic 3D shared some details about his company and auto-stereoscopic 3D (glasses free) technology. This week, he shares his views on the impending Nintendo 3DS, the importance of S-3D gaming for our industry, and the markets he sees as being most critical.
It's a tough call. If I were Jim Kramer, I might say that I am not "bullish" on 3D in the home with glasses. I think there are too many negatives stacking up against the adoption of 3D with the need for glasses. For one, users are probably texting on their mobile devices or using their laptops while watching TV, and they wouldn't want to take their glasses off and on. Two, there is a lack of standards across the space, so consumers won't know whether certain glasses will work with specific screens or video games. Another, and perhaps more obvious obstacle, is the cost; too many family members would need glasses to see the content. At an approximate cost of $150 a pair, what happens if someone breaks a set? Finally, and arguably most important, the lack of available content makes it difficult to consider why consumers should invest in 3D TV in their homes.
I think 3D cinema is successful because it's in a tightly controlled medium and environment. Viewers are paying for temporary entertainment at a cost of around $12 to $15. If someone sees ten 3D movies a year on the big screen, the cost remains the same for one pair of glasses, and they don't have to worry about whether or not that pair will work with their TV.
I think the first sectors that will do well on 3D in the home would be the video game console manufacturers, PC gaming companies and cinema companies. I don't think that cable is going to be able to get the content out there as quickly at it needs to, so much like how we had to wait for HD content, I think we have several years to wait for before consumers widely adopt 3D, and by then, if Magnetic 3D has its way, everyone will be ditching the glasses for auto-stereo displays. It just makes more sense for the end user and will probably be just as cost effective by then.
First off, it's refreshing to see that companies are thinking about 3D beyond the need for glasses. 3D with glasses has its drawbacks; I think display manufacturers are looking for a quick fix, and a 3D chip and glasses is a quick, easy way to raise profit margins. Additionally, they are in totally different businesses than video game companies like Nintendo. Video game companies are in control of their user interface and also the content they provide on their platforms. This is a unique business where companies have the ability to control all aspects of the user experience. This is critical for glasses-free 3D since it requires additional programming and integration of multiple cameras.
What's really exciting about the 3DS announcement is that Nintendo is asserting that this is where the future of entertainment is headed. As a company, they are natural innovators, whether it's motion controls or 3D without glasses. So the fact that they are pioneers in glasses-free 3D says a lot about the space. They are a company that understands that people want to interact and be immersed in video games. 2D has reached its limit; Nintendo knows this and is going to do a great job with 3D. I must say I'm really excited to play Super Mario Bros. or Duck Hunt in 3D, though I might wait for it to reach a living room console first!
It's tough to say, but I think a 25 percent increase would be something the market could bear. Nintendo caters to a certain demographic that is used to paying for cell phones and home entertainment consoles, so a larger price tag of that much seems reasonable. I may be a little biased, but personally, I would be willing to pay that much more to be able to play games in 3D, if the experience is that good and the games are fairly priced.
I think the biggest challenge for the 3DS will be getting everyone to try it. You need to see glasses-free 3D to really understand it, but my guess is that word of mouth alone will set it off like wildfire.
100%. I would expect a price difference of anywhere between 15 to 30 percent higher for individual games, just because you'd need to know how to use the appropriate software to create the 3D images without glasses.
There are so many games that would be amazing in 3D, it's really hard to know where to start! 3D would certainly enhance anything from first person shooters to multiplayer RPGs, or campaign-based games. Wouldn't it be so cool to play Tetris in 3D? Now that would require a whole new set of skills.
I think where things really get interesting are in 3D and gesture technology, or 3D and virtual 3D audio. Imagine playing against someone in 3D and also being able to hear them sneak up from behind you! Having the ability to use your physical senses to help you win a video game is when gaming turns into a whole new experience and I think it will appeal to an even wider audience than it does today.
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