Five Reasons 3D Display ISN’T Doomed (A Rebuttal)
by Neil Schneider
I’d like to respond to a blog written by Steve Peterson on Gamasutra.com. In it, he lists “5 Reasons 3D Display is Doomed”. It’s a very fixed position, and I feel compelled to share some insight of my own.
First, Mr. Peterson’s article begins with the statement “I realize that a great deal of enthusiasm has been expressed about its prospects, but that’s mostly by executives with a vested interest in seeing it succeed. What are the real chances?”
I will first remark that this “3D executive” took an interest long before 3D was popular. mtbs3D.com started as an idea posted in the early Nvidia 3D gamers’ forum (I’m “Chopper”) over four years ago, and grew from there. Much of MTBS is put together by volunteers who invest their personal time because they love 3D gaming and want to see it succeed. This gamer driven movement is what later made The S-3D Gaming Alliance possible.
If I have a vested interest in 3D, it’s because I’m a customer first. Now to respond to Mr. Peterson’s remarks:
1. 3D Is Expensive
“The new generation of consoles helped catalyze the purchase of HDTVs, and now we ask customers to drop at least $2000 on a new set so they can play 3D titles?”
Over ten years ago, the first traditional HDTVs were sold in 1998 for between $5,000 to $10,000 US – and the dollar was valued higher back then. Looking at a current Best Buy online listing, the most expensive 3D HDTV featured is the Samsung 55″ unit going for about $5,000 US (Model UN55C9000). The Samsung 46″ 3D Plasma is going for about $1,400 US (Model LN46C750).
In the 2D market, Samsung’s 65″ (Model UN65C6500) is going for over $4,000 US, and the majority of mid-range units are going for about $2,000 a piece. Not so far off from the 3D world, if you ask me. I only focused on Samsung for consistency, but it’s a very diverse market including Sony, LG Electronics, Panasonic, and more.
A leading criticism Mr. Peterson uses against 3D is that people won’t buy a second set, let alone make a purchase like this in the current economy. According to DisplaySearch, LCD TV sales saw a 50% increase in 2009. According to ISuppli, even during a recession, 2009 saw a first quarter flat panel sales increase of 7.8 million units, or 17 percent. This was attributed to cocooning, or cutting back on travel in favour of a great home entertainment system.
We have to remember that these tail-end buyers aren’t the early adopters, they are the bargain hunters. If indeed people want the 3D benefits, and all the customer data we have to work with says they do, then it’s a brand new product cycle for the early adopters looking to upgrade their living room experience – which is justification for a second HDTV in their home.
While I admit that $1,400 is very reasonable for a 3D HDTV, the 3D market is clearly targeting the early adopters now, with the mass market to follow – similar to HDTV.
Read the whole story here.