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You Have to Find the Cracks Before You Can Fill Them

By Neil Schneider

We are on the last leg of our trip to France, and are just digesting the experiences we had at this year’s Dimension-3 Expo. For this editorial, I’d like to place a focus on S-3D gaming, and an interesting conversation that took place after our presentation.

MTBS has been positioned as an advocacy group. Our whole reason for being is to make S-3D successful in the home through the power and enthusiasm of customers and end users. However, just because we are an advocacy group, and just because we want to see industry-wide success, it does not mean we have to be 100% positive about every S-3D experience and every S-3D hardware/software solution.

Let me explain why I am saying this. I jointly presented with Dr. Jon Peddie at Dimension-3 Expo. His presentation gave a great summary of the S-3D gaming industry, and using screen captures of games and some sample anomalies provided by one of our valued members, Yuriy Nichsych (AKA YuriyTheBest), he explained the leading problems faced by games that are poorly optimized for stereoscopic 3D gaming. I then followed this presentation with an explanation of how MTBS is working to get game developers onboard to take more care in their programming, and how we are working to benefit game developers for doing this.

As a sucker punch, the last audience question was not a question, but a put-down. A remark about how “depressing” our presentation was, and how showing the poor anomalies in gaming is going to hold back S-3D in the home.

Having read my share of S-3D industry blogs and seen more than my share of industry panels and discussions, I can see why he reacted the way he did. In all the conference’s I’ve been to, most presentations quickly get kissy, kissy and lovey-dovey. For Jon and I to go on stage and spend oodles of time talking about the challenges must have gone against the grain.

There are challenges with modern gaming. As an advocacy group, it’s our responsibility to discuss and try to find ways to solve them. I see nothing to be upset with here.

We spoke further outside, and he explained that S-3D cinema is insistent on a perfect 3D experience because ultimately, a negative experience turns customers away. I agree with this, and gaming should be no different. The issue we were trying to address in our presentation is how can we get game developers to work with the driver developers so the best customer experience will occur 100% of the time? What is going to get this quality control ecosystem to form?

Cinema is easy because we have a demonstrated business case where customers are willing to pay a premium for the S-3D experience. Gaming, at least at this stage, is a bit more challenging because game developers can’t charge a premium for the S-3D benefit just yet. So what’s in it for them?

For MTBS, the answer to the paradox is customers. Customer set expectations, customer driven quality control, customer influence, and the ultimate benefit of reliably reaching and selling to customers. Premium or not, when thousands of customers speak, people listen. Game developers are no different.

I would see cause for depression if the gaming industry didn’t have a plan of action; if we just cried on each others’ shoulders begging for standards or some demigod to take care of our problems for us. This isn’t the case here.

We have modern S-3D gaming systems being sold today, we have leading game developers implementing native S-3D support today, we have members and customers advocating the technology today, and there is clearly a momentum building in the consumer markets around gaming. While we are eons ahead of S-3D cinema in the home, we must also recognize that we are still just getting started.

MTBS exists to do work and solve problems, and as uncomfortable as it may seem, you have to be prepared to find the cracks before you can fill them. Share your thoughts on this editorial in our forums!