It’s no secret that the next evolution in gaming is headed down the 3D route. With whole gaming systems like the 3DS headed our way, it’s inevitable that gamers will start jumping on board. Just like Ryan, up until a few days ago I was pushing off this “revolution” of sorts as just a small fad, knowing fully well that it would fade into oblivion after a few months. With how crappy 3D movies were, there was no way that 3D gaming could be any better.
Boy…was I wrong.
I had the opportunity to play a level of the game Bulletstorm in 3D this past weekend, and needless to say I was blown away. My entire view of 3D gaming changed right then and there. I’ve gone from “It’ll fade out in a few months” to “HOLY CRAP! If it’s this good now, what’s it going to be like in a year?!” I was surprised how naive I had been on the whole subject. After digging, though, I remembered one of the reasons that continually reminded me — in the past — why it would fail: the price.
Getting started in the realm of 3D gaming isn’t cheap. First, you need a video card that supports it. Luckily, anyone with even a semi-recent NVidia card is good to go. The technology is built into the Drivers, not the card. That was a smart move on their part. Most PC gamers already own one of the most imporant pieces of hardware. Secondly, you need a monitor with 120hz refresh rate. This is so that each eye can receive the standard 60hz. These aren’t exactly cheap, but they are slowly getting lower in price as the technology advances.
Finally, you need those big, bad, scary glasses. The glasses work on an electronic shutters system, blocking the vision in one eye or the other at the speed of 120 per second per eye, basically tricking your brain into seeing both images separately and seeing it in 3D, as you would everything around us in the real world. This aspect of having a 3D system has always been what I’ve seen as the crutch. In the past, these glasses (which fit amazingly comfortably over eye glasses) cost $200+. That’s not an option, especially for gamers who are playing on a budget.
This morning, for the first time in a long time, that price has dropped $50. You can now get a pair of the NVidia 3DVision goggles for $149, and any extra pairs for $119. While this still be a bit high for a lot of gamers that are watching their wallets. It is a very positive step for those that are on the fence, and it shows that NVidia is more than willing to help make this more affordable, as the price of the technology drops. This actually gets me excited, as now more gamers can afford to jump into the realm of 3D.
Something else that I did not know before the 3D demonstration, that with the most current release of the NVidia Video Card Drivers, there are over 500 PC games that are 3D ready. That number is staggering. I was expecting to hear maybe 50 at the most, but it turns out to be over 10 times that number. If anyone is worried about the cost of 3D not being worth it because of lack of support, you can throw that fear out the window. NVidia was adamant about the current number, as well as the sheer amount of games that are being added with each driver update. This isn’t just sloppily thrown together 3D. NVidia tests all of the games themselves internally to make sure they are up to their own standards, before putting their seal on anything. In other words, you can expect a game like RIFT to look just as good, if not better, than the visually stunning demo of Bulletstorm that I played.
For the past couple of years, as this whole mass of 3D gaming and movies has headed our way, I have shrugged it off. I would have sworn we would be seeing the end of it very soon. The concept sounded ok, but I figured that the execution, the lack of quality, and the price would help push 3D to a slow, painful death. I have been proven wrong on all fronts, and now I’m a believer that this is the direction that gaming is headed, and for the better.
As of posting NVidia is running a special on the 3D vision goggles. Not only did the price drop to MSRP of $150 today, they are offering the glasses plus a Starcraft 2 Promo for $124 right now: Check out the tech specs and the promo here!