TV makers embrace 3-D technology, but most video game makers do not

TV makers are hoping that 3-D at home will be the next big thing in their business, with consumers readily dropping almost $1,000 more to take in three dimensions of movies and TV. But it doesn’t appear as if the video game industry, whose customers are notorious early adopters of new tech, is ready to take the dive.

Gamers helped push forward the defeat of HD DVD by the hands of Sony’s Blu-ray with purchases of the PlayStation 3. And, like sports fans, they are willing to get bigger and better televisions and sound systems. They’re also willing to wear big headsets for multiplayer games.

Both Samsung and Panasonic will start selling 3-D-capable TVs this week, despite the lack of 3-D content available now. And although there have been some moves toward 3-D in gaming, most of the industry seems pretty hesitant to make the leap.

“We’re committed to evolving that technology as consumer demand evolves,” Microsoft said in a statement. “But the spotlight for Xbox 360 and the industry is focused on creating breakthrough social experiences that everyone can enjoy together,” an apparent shot at the need for 3-D TV watchers to wear special glasses.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has dismissed gaming in 3-D. “I have doubts whether people will be wearing glasses to play games at home,” he said. “How is that going to look to other people [watching the game]?”

Sony, however, is taking 3-D very seriously. The company, which will introduce 3-D TV sets in June, announced that it will issue free updates to its PlayStation 3 to make some games and Blu-ray discs 3-D compatible.

Sony is not alone. The first mainstream 3-D game was an adaptation of James Cameron’s 3-D blockbuster “Avatar.” The game didn’t sell too well — only 430,000 copies on all systems, according to the analysis firm NPD Group — but it shows an early interest by developers in this new dimension.

“Three-D is to pictures what Dolby Stereo was to sound,” Yannis Mallat, chief executive of the Montreal subsidiary of Ubisoft, told the Financial Post. “No one wants to go back to mono.”

Tags: 3-D , 3D , video games , sony , playstation , microsoft , xbox , nintendo , wii

advertisement | advertise on newsday

advertisement | advertise on newsday