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Is the 2D Glass About to Break?

By August 2, 2007Editorial

Dare I say I told you so? Ok, I’ll dare, I told you so! Check this article out on the lackluster adoption of DirectX 10.

I have an analogy to share with you. Moore’s Law, in its simplest form, refers to the doubling of processing power every 18 months in the computer industry. Over the past few years, there has been a lot of talk about silicon quickly reaching its processing limits, and CPU manufacturers are looking for viable alternatives to keep pace.

From the point of view of visual pixel counts, the mindset of Moore’s Law has not directly impacted the display industry just yet – but that doesn’t matter. This isn’t about pixel counts and shaders and color gamuts. This is about the relationship between visual processing power and the likelihood of earning an excited response from the gamer.

I would venture, as demonstrated by this article, that the ability for traditional 2D media to thrill its video game players is closer to the ceiling than most are willing to admit. On a scale from one to ten, “one” being 160 X 160 pixel screens, to “eight” being the more standard 1600 X 1200 pixel screens with the 3D shaders and colorful graphics of today, the industry has nearly peaked the excitement curve that 2D media stands to offer.

Figuratively speaking, onscreen video game images have gotten better and better, and we are quickly getting to the point when the monitor glass will break, and a true 3D image will be born for the masses. It’s inevitable.

I would go so far as to say that traditional 2D content is the most inefficient way to thrill an audience. Let me explain through example. Video games are at-home amusement parks without the lineups. Nothing more, nothing less. However, while a video game requires hours of play before the consumer thinks they got their money’s worth, an amusement park gets away with several short four minute rides with long uncomfortable lineups in between!

How can this be?

Amusement parks are all based on 3D technologies. Universal Studios and Disneyland both feature 3D rides which have stood the test of time. Even a traditional rollercoaster is a 3D technology, after all! This is the type of content our eyes want, and our customers crave.

Fortunately for the video game industry, we have the advantage of already rendering our content in 3D, a wide range of stereoscopic 3D (S-3D) hardware solutions are already available on the market, and very little – if any – effort is needed to make video games S-3D friendly.

2D gaming is clearly showing the signs of outliving its usefulness, and we are now blessed with the opportunity to start a new gaming chapter, and resetting the thrill progress to efficiency scale back to level one.

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