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Hollenshead: Early 3D Adopters Can't Drive 'Substantial Change' In Gaming

Hollenshead: Early 3D Adopters Can't Drive 'Substantial Change' In Gaming

August 25, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

August 25, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander
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3D is headed this way, but how big of a splash will it really make? The industry seems torn; while Sony briskly moves to support its line of Bravia 3D televisions by setting 'almost all' its studios to work on 3D games -- and despite the high price of that kind of 3D television, Ubisoft says it expects them in every home within the next three years.

Much discussion surrounds the question of just what kind of consumer will embrace 3D and how large that install base will be; some companies are eager, others are hesitant. Add id Software to the 'hesitant' column, as Todd Hollenshead, boss of the storied developer most recently behind Doom 4 and Rage, tells UK consumer site Eurogamer that the tech needs more time.

One of Hollenshead's reservations is purely cultural. The push for 3D ever since the 1980s has a sort of breathless sci-fi bent he thinks may have drummed up the perception that wearing goggles and gawking at pop-out graphics seems "so nerdy that nobody wants to do it," and he's unsure whether the companies pioneering new stereoscopic tech have found a way to circumvent that rap and make 3D comfortable, stylish and appealing.

Hollenshead was frustrated when his nose hurt from the uncomfortable glasses he wore for two hours during a showing of James Cameron's Avatar in 3D. "I know the stuff in your living room is different. You can get higher quality glasses that fit," he says. "But you still gotta sit in your living room wearing these glasses. And then if you're playing games and move your head then it can get out of phase, which is a major issue."

Like many -- though perhaps not in such a specific turn of phrase -- Hollenshead notes that 3D televisions are "f***ing expensive" (in the range of $3,000-$5,000 and up), wondering, "Is there enough content to justify?"

"At the very uber end of the videophiles, those guys are going to adopt that," he says. "But that's not going to be wide enough adoption to create substantial change within the gaming market. It has to be more pervasive and more widely adopted before it makes sense for videogame development companies to invest."

"You may have one or two that are like, oh, we're going to fly the banner of this and we're going to make our name on this one thing," Hollenshead continues. But to have really meaningful differences is going to require some more time. The price is going to have to come down and you're going to have to have more widespread adoption."


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