Stereoscopic 3D: A ‘Game Changer’

NVIDIA has released new drivers for their GeForce 3D Vision product. 3D Vision is a combination of shutter glasses, IR emitter and software for use with a compatible 120Hz 3D-Ready monitor or TV. The new driver includes support for the 2009 model 3D Ready DLP RPTVs from Mitsubishi Electric and 26 additional game titles (beyond the 350 already supported) and reaffirms NVIDIA’s commitment to this market. The v185.85 WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Lab) GPU drivers were released at the beginning of May and included significant performance improvement for popular games, but the release was not compatible with 3D Vision, prompting some howls from 3D enthusiasts on a number of blogs.

Releasing the latest drivers is very important as 3D Vision only works with NVIDIA GPUs and requires a fairly powerful graphics card in order to play S-3D games.

iZ3D is also making improvements to their driver. The current driver is v1.09, but v1.10 has moved out of beta and has now been issued as release candidate v1.10. This new driver, while still not in its final version, offers improvements in S-3D performance for many games and is also offering support for S-3D YouTube videos.

Did you know that the video game industry is now larger than the movie industry? As a result, many see video gaming as the best path to bringing 3D into the home. There are already video games based on movies and movies based on video games. The movie industry is moving to 3D, but without a clear path to the living room. The video game industry has a clear path to the home via handheld, console and PC-based gaming platforms. This pathway is useful for 3D gaming, but can just as well be used for other content such as movies.

While many games can now be played in stereoscopic 3D (S-3D), the gameplay can be highly dependent upon the way the game was designed, the hardware configuration and the S-3D drivers. But steps are being taken to make S-3D a more integral part of the options that gamers can choose. For example, earlier this year, Blizzard brought S-3D support to their hugely successful MMORPG game, World of Warcraft. With the release of patch 3.0.9, if the installer detects the presence of the 3D Vision drivers, it adds a Stereo tab to the Video Option menu.

As the lead analyst on Insight Media’s upcoming report on Stereoscopic 3D gaming, I have enjoyed many, many hours of playing PC games in S-3D this year. Although the quality of the 3D experience does change somewhat from game-to-game, the reality is that the experience is truly immersive and makes it very difficult to going back to playing games the old-fashioned 2D way. It is a very exciting time to be involved in S-3D as PC games are getting better with every release, S-3D on console games is just around the corner and it won’t be long before these systems will be used to watch 3D movies in the home.

By Dale Maunu, DisplayDaily