While pundits and general interest 3D studies are all up in arms about the need for glasses-free technology, these statements continue to go unfounded among gamers. According to traditional 2D gamers who don't yet own 3D equipment of their own, the use of glasses is an insignificant deterrent for 3D gaming and 3D Blu-ray movie content. It's only for 3D sporting events and traditional television broadcasting that glasses mark a steep difference in the willingness to watch 3D content. On condition that 3D sporting and broadcast events are made available on a regular basis, and gamers can sample the benefits firsthand, we expect the willingness to wear 3D glasses to change accordingly.
The above chart is based on the 2D gamer purchase plans for HDTVs. This is not 3D HDTV specific. For pundits and analysts that believe consumers won't buy a second HDTV if they already own one, U-Decide had the advantage of possessing a disproportionately larger sample of gamers that already own an HDTV. As shown above, owning or not owning an HDTV has a very limited impact on interest levels in making a future HDTV purchase.
Stereoscopic 3D is considered a high interest HDTV feature for 57% of respondents, 19% were neutral, and 24% were at a low interest level. The above chart is based on the 57% high interest level group combined with 50% of the neutral group.
If game developers think that they can wait until the last minute to be 3D Ready, they should think again. According to almost 50% of respondents, when gamers own a 3D HDTV they will give preferential treatment to 3D Ready games. In fact, 8% say they will only buy 3D games. We expect this trend will grow more and more dominant as 3D gaming awareness increases.
According to traditional 2D gamers, there is a clear willingness to spend a bit more for 3D compatibility (if they owned a 3D display). Approximately 40% of respondents are willing to spend anywhere from $3 to $5 more on a $50 game title on PC. Another 12% is ok with playing as much as $10 more. Over 15% suggest premiums as high as 50% to 100% more for their video games. We are unconvinced that premiums this high would sell very well with gamers, but it's a good indicator that 3D compatibility has measurable value associated with it.
Willingness to pay a premium for 3D compatibility is a bit less for console gamers versus PC gamers, but not by much. Just under 40% are comfortable with the $3 to $5 range, and almost 12% will go as high as $10. As with PC, we aren't big believers in the $25 to $50 premium range for console 3D games, but almost 14% of 2D gamers suggest this as a possibility.