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EA Sees 'Poor Returns' On 3D, Focuses On Social Instead
EA Sees 'Poor Returns' On 3D, Focuses On Social Instead
July 28, 2011 | By Frank Cifaldi

Electronic Arts has seen poor returns when allocating its resources to displaying its games in 3D, according to CEO John Riccitiello, who says that the company would prefer to use those resources focusing on social features.

Speaking to company shareholders in a meeting remotely attended by Gamasutra, Riccitiello said that EA's business responds to the needs of consumers, and from what it has seen, consumers are not asking for 3D.

"Frankly, we have not seen a big uptake for 3D gaming," he said. "We haven't seen a big uptake for 3D televisions in the home, at least not yet. And we're not here trying to drive the market, we're here to react to what consumers are looking for."

Further, says Riccitiello, 3D games represented on a 2D display "provide the greatest entertainment experience," saying that for "a lot of us," the experience is more satisfying than a 3D display.

"Right now we're seeing better growth focusing on a different technology and social," he said. "We've seen really high returns here, and very poor returns focusing on 3D. So our allocation of resources have been toward the new innovations that are growing more rapidly."

Nintendo this morning announced a dramatic price cut for its recently released 3DS handheld, which to date has had lower-than-expected sales for the company. Nintendo has admitted in the past that it had anticipated a higher demand for the product based purely on its 3D display.

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Martain Chandler
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2013: Electronic Arts has seen poor returns when allocating its resources to social media, according to CEO Nextinline, who says that the company would prefer to use those resources focusing on 3D.

Speaking to company shareholders in a meeting remotely attended by Gamasutra, Nextinline said that EA's business responds to the needs of consumers, and from what it has seen, consumers are sick and tired of social media.

Carlos Sousa
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I can understand where they're going, they won't have return, at least not yet, spending on R&D for such a low demand (by public) displays.

And it's not like they're switching their games to farmville category... At least I hope so not!

Jane Castle
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lol! When I read the head line I thought what???!!!!! They aren't making 3D games anymore????? They are only going to make 2D from now on???? :)

Justin Speer
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Hah! Now that would be an amazing article.

Carlos Sousa
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hahaha I kind of thought of that in a first moment also ;), I'm like... "pffff... whattt???? ..... Oh... "

Thomas Grove
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Doesn't making a 3D display game simply mean adding a second camera? I can't imagine too much R&D needs to go into it. Maybe more QA testing and UI tweaking to get things to look "good".

Charles Castermans
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@Jane Castle:

Yes, it would be better if the term 'Stereo 3D' or 'S3D' would be used in articles to see the difference between the two concepts.

@Thomas Grove:

On the contrary, turning a 3D game into a Stereo 3D game takes a lot of effort.

For example: when the 3D engine has to render two images instead of one, simply stated your framerate cuts in half. But there are many optimizations to be made, not all 3D art tackles the Stereo 3D ghosting effect that well, you need additional testing, and this list goes on and on...

In the end Stereo 3D influences all parts of the game production pipeline which makes it very expensive to implement.

And looking at the disappointing Stereo 3D television sales, the lack of Stereo 3D content, the Stereo 3D effect in itself not being all-that-revolutionary (at least outside cinemas), dropping Stereo 3D cinema sales in the US... it is save to state it's a bad investment at this moment.

Tory Schram
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Crosstalk [aka ghosting] is a result of the pixels in the display not being able to fully make it to their target color from frame to frame. Its also more noticable in games because games feature full, realistic image separation, giving you realistic 3D. Movies do not do this and have very little depth compared to games. IE, when your standing next to a skyscraper and look up, with full 3d your eyes will stare nearly straight on when viewing the top and it will apear as though it is very far away as it should, in movies you will still be quite crossed and it will appear much, much closer than it should. To achieve that effect, the images have to be very far apart, leaving you with high amounts of crosstalk with un-ideal displays. Improvements to crosstalk in one year on LCD displays have seen more than triple reduction. With Phillips 9000 series almost having that of plasma.

I myself use a 46" 3DTV as a computer monitor replacement and im limited to 720p due to HDMI limitions. I find despite the lower resolution, that the added immersion from full 3D and the added FOV, provided a greater, more immersive experience than from my previous monitor, the 2560x1600 30" 3007wfp-hc.

Tory Schram
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Oops, i forgot the most important part. Adding 3D does not drastically increase the cost of game production at all, where did you hear that? Nvidia's 3d Vision and Ati's solution use Directx and their own hardware to render the 2nd camera view point without any effort what-so-ever from the developer. Some 2D effects, like some implementations of shadows or reflections for example can sometimes render at the wrong depth in games. In games where the developers are long gone or they don't care, it can't be changed, but there are sometimes work arounds for these games and sometimes you can just turn the effect off. John Carmack himself said that the need for using 2D tricks to simulated 3D effects is going to come to an end, thus perfect 3D, every time, eventually.

Tiago Costa
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I'll admit that I'm not the smartest person in this planet...barely but I'm not.. :P

But was this so unexpected? The first time I laid eyes on 3D tech (back in AVATAR days) I saw it as nothing more than a gimmick that would not hold.

I would even suspect that no person would really like to play a game in a "real" holodeck.

Also, social? really? sigh... ok, next year don't come crying because social didn't made you enough money and telling us that you'll be jumping the bandwagon for the next hype.

Just focus in good games and forget about gimmicks... and give us Mirror's Edge 2.

Todd Boyd
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"I would even suspect that no person would really like to play a game in a "real" holodeck."

On the contrary, that would be FRIGGIN AWESOME.

Tory Schram
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3d in games are very different to 3d in movies. Games have full, realistic depth, while movies have about the depth of a theater stage and kind of look like card board cut-outs. Ie, in Mirrors Edge, when standing at the edge of a building and looking down, the street below [and the buildings] above, truly appear as though they are far away [since your eyes are able to stare straight on, unlike in movies] and give a very visceral feeling of height, distance and....fear. In 2D it played more like a traditional game, while in 3D, calling it a game felt like an understatement, it felt like an "experience" and i kept telling myself when sizing up a big jump, "this is just plain not safe man!". I agree that 3d in movies doesn't always add much to the table, especially combined with the current drawbacks like reduced brightness and crosstalk (which have already been improved upon). But, the full 3D in games I find just plain amazing over 2D. It looks like the game world has been laid at your feet. Hopefully they can add this to movies as well.