By Patrik Pfandler, Futuresource Consulting
3D will becoming increasingly important in the gaming world and by 2018 it will be commonplace, with 3D compatibility a function of all leading titles. Based on the many 3D demos that we have experienced and played here at Futuresource Consulting, I’m sure that the additional immersive experience it provides will power 3D gaming right through the consumer adoption curve.
Uptake of 3D video games may take longer to arrive than film, as movies can be experienced in the cinema long before consumers start to install 3DTVs in living rooms. However, once 3DTVs reach a satisfactory installed base, we will see a far bigger push on 3D games advertising and promotion.
Looking towards the consoles, the Xbox 360 and PS3 are essentially 3D-ready; Sony will release a dedicated 3D firmware update for the PS3 this summer. The first rush of 3D gaming is expected to be distributed via download initially, with Sony releasing four games, including Wipeout, together with the firmware update. Here at Futuresource, we expect to see a significant proportion of disc-based games titles featuring a 3D option very soon, perhaps becoming prevalent by 2011.
There are no major obstacles to 3D games development and production, the process is relatively straightforward and is all done in post production. Including the 3D functionality, development costs of a 3D game are only 10% to 15% higher than a 2D game. Most developers and publishers are already fully geared up for 3D – it’s all about the consumer catch up. As 3D functionality becomes more popular we expect the price to drop and 3D to roll out as standard on a wide variety of games.
As an additional point, Nintendo is expected to announce details of its new 3DS device at next month’s E3 show. The portable gaming machine could be many consumers’ first experience of 3D gaming and will feature an autostereoscopic 3D-enabled screen, negating the need for glasses.
Patrik Pfandler is a Senior Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting.