Games Going 3D – Virtual Reality Becoming Real This Spring
3D gaming is no longer a thing of the future. That means it’s time to bring virtual reality into your reality this spring. At the 2009 CES in Las Vegas, I was bombarded with nonstop info regarding the latest and greatest tech. NVIDIA’s 3D gaming exhibit especially caught my eye, among other 3D prospects.
It’s official; 3D technology has arrived at the doorstep of the video game industry.
The Facts: With the launch of NVIDIA’s new 3D accessory kit, 300+ of your existing PC games will be instantly converted into gorgeous marvels in three dimensions.
This kit includes infrared emitter cables along with a pair of black 3D glasses that NVIDIA boasts being “modeled after modern sunglasses.” The kit will be available for $200 in only a month and works with their graphics cards.
How it works: The USB-based emitter will transmit data straight to the glasses. As an added feature there is a dial allowing you to adjust the 3D depth in game.
Other Companies Going 3D: I got to check out Sony and Samsung’s concept 3D TV sets, and Panasonic brought out the big guns with its 3D Plasma TV.
As with Panasonic’s presentation, 3D goggles were required, but the benefits for gaming could be immense. Both PC and console gamers will soon have real 3D depth perception available to them in their games. NVIDIA is partnering with Samsung to provide a fully 3D gaming experience for PC users. Samsung announced their first 3D-compatible monitor, the SyncMaster 2233RZ (which should ship in April), to work with the new GeForce 3D Vision video cards.
People have commented that since all of the upcoming 3D technologies will require 3D goggles, that it just doesn’t seem practical – who wants to have to wear the goggles to watch TV, or play games? On the surface this seems realistic.. after all, 3D goggles have been around for ages and they just haven’t caught on. So why should things change now?
In my opinion, the red and blue 3D goggles of the past are to today’s upcoming models and 3D source technology as the old NES light gun and other accessories were to the Wiimote and IR tech of today. The capability was there to create something wonderful, but the tech just hadn’t matured enough yet, and the market wasn’t quite ready.
The combination of 3D head tracking with 3D depth provided by the new technologies shown at the 2009 CES show can be a real driver for gaming innovation. The first application will be to provide existing games with 3D immersion, adding visual depth, but not affecting gameplay. I think that in the near future we will begin to see game design affected by the new technology if it catches even a toehold in the market. Gameplay and games will be created to really take advantage of the capabilities provided by the new technology.
I predict that we will see 3D goggles evolve and become at least somewhat popular in a way that they have not been in the past, much like the Wiimote ushered in the popularity of real-life movements translating to games in a way that nothing (other than the DDR footpad, that is!) had been able to do before its time. The technology is too good and its proponents too powerful and wealthy to have it die without capturing any of the market. The only question is how much, and for how long, as the tech will likely be supplanted in the future by 3D holograms, which are not as far away from being reality as you might think.