Guest Post: 3D gaming: is it the future of gaming or just another gimmick?

3d_monitors_cover_640x360 3D gaming can feel like yet another fad, a ploy to persuade fans to shell out extra money for minimal improvements in graphics and the occasional moment of 'it jumped out of the screen! However, creating screen media that works in all three dimensions is by no means a new idea for developers, and the concerted efforts behind making the dream a reality indicate that, when they do finally get it right, 3D gaming will absolutely be here to stay. Since the early 1970s, gaming has incorporated 3D elements, even if only on the most basic level of trying to introduce some perspective into the graphics. When developers now create games, they have 3DTV compatibility in mind; working to consider how gamers can immerse themselves in the worlds they create using dimensional technology.

The biggest downside at the moment is that if you want to try out the experience for yourself, your console by itself is unlikely to be enough. Without a quality television, specially designed glasses and, of course, compatible games, you'll be left in the dark. The added costs certainly lend weight to the accusations that 3D gaming as it stands is little more than an expensive gimmick.

Currently, when games are used in 3D mode on a console, resolution is halved and the frame rate drops, affecting the overall sharpness of the picture. This also results in the game processing the in-game effects at a much slower speed, causing the game to jar and graphics to appear less fluid. Still, the added depth of the third dimension does create a more intimate experience, at least for those with 3D compatible TVs and monitors. For players who dream of entering the world of the game 'for real,' it seems this can be enough, for now, to keep them happy.

3DTV sales are on the rise in 2013, by 72% compared with sales in 2012. Companies like Sony supported 3D early on, with PS3 games like Killzone 3, Uncharted 3 and Resistance 3. However, with 3D televisions often much more expensive than their HD counterparts, it's no surprise that both Sony and Microsoft have shifted focus to develop games that support 3D play, rather than making them solely 3D in nature.

Shuhei Yoshida, President of Sony's Worldwide Studios, has said that for the hotly-anticipated PlayStation 4, 3D is, 'not a focus. But it does do it better. The basic capability is higher so more games will run at 1080p at 60 frames, so it's an easier and better experience when you watch on 3D TV. It seems that the added dimension is battling it out with other advances in areas like 4K resolution and motion sensor technology to become the next big 'selling point' of a new generation console.

As ever, the world of gaming developers is in constant flux, and it's almost impossible to predict what they'll come up with next. Still, given the long history between the gamers and the dream of 3D, you can bet that they won't be giving up on the quest to get it perfect anytime soon.