How to Understand the Future of 3D Game Design

Hollywood has already begun cashing in on 3D technology with a series of big-budget blockbusters, including hits such as “Avatar” and “Resident Evil: Afterlife.” With the movie industry’s many parallels to the video game industry, it should come as no surprise that video game developers are looking into 3D technology as the next big money-maker in their industry as well.

The top video games are already intense entertainment experiences with high-definition graphics, motion-sensitive controls, and wide-screen television screens, and the introduction of 3D technology promises to make the gaming experience out of this world. Any hardcore gamer will relish all the explosions and fight scenes of their favorite games in three full-on dimensions.

However, 3D gaming can be expensive for the consumer. While electronics manufacturers are rolling out 3D televisions, these are usually expensive and many people are not able to afford them, especially so rapidly after high-definition prompted a flurry of television set upgrades. This is something developers need to take into account as they plan their approach to 3D game design.

The three major console manufacturers have already established three very different approaches when it comes to 3D gaming. Sony has already launched software changes that will allow for games in 3D for the Playstation 3 console. This is perhaps due to the fact that Sony is ready to launch their own range of 3D televisions.

Microsoft, however, is taking a wait-and-see approach. Microsoft Game Studios executive Phil Spencer states that “people just don’t really have TV’s in their houses right now that are going to do 3D in a way that’s going to work.” For this reason, Microsoft issued a statement saying that although the Xbox 360 is capable of delivering a 3D gaming experience, they intend to wait until the time is right before moving forward with any 3D game programming initiatives for the console. He also believes that 3D game design cannot evolve until there is no need for 3D glasses to be worn, and this is why Microsoft is continuing their research and development before making any major 3D releases. However, there will be 3D versions of some Xbox 360 games. For example, Batman: Arkham Asylum, was released with 3D glasses in the box. Releases like this one could work as a sort of video game testing for Microsoft to see if there is sufficient public interest in 3D games.

Nintendo is taking a completely different approach, launching a hand-held 3D gaming console with their new “3DS” console, due for release in early 2011. Nintendo may have struck gold with this move, since (unlike Sony’s 3D technology) the Nintendo 3DS will not require the use of 3D glasses or the purchase of an expensive 3D television. This effectively eliminates two of the main hurdles facing the other gaming companies that are attempting to incorporate 3D technology into the mainstream. It seems that Nintendo has a knack for predicting new technology trends, as they were also the front-runners in motion-sensitive game design with their Wii console.

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