Monday, January 11, 2010

Sony's PS3 and NVIDIA's 3D Vision Are The Tip Of The S3D Gaming Spear!!

Jim here. Wow - CES really has our heads spinning with stereoscopic 3D (S3D) announcements and product unveilings! Not the least of which is S3D gaming...

Of note is Sony's PS3. From what I can see, Sony plans on using the Playstation 3 as the centerpiece of their company's S3D products, and justifiably so. The PS3 has the ability to update its firmware over the Internet whenever it needs to - and that includes 3D.

There will be two firmware updates in 2010 for the PS3:
The first will add S3D GAMING functionality to the console. The second will bring S3D MOVIE functionality. To the best of my knowledge, these updates will be FREE and will certainly support their awesome new lineup of S3DHD televisions - including the new HDMI 1.4 spec.

Those firmware updates will obviously be preceded by game developers SDKs (Solution Development Kits) for the industry. That way we can anticipate a nice selection of S3D content for consumers when the time comes to upgrade.

Well that pretty much sums up the consoles
as Microsoft is practically standing still with regards to S3D. However, in Microsoft standard operating procedure you can use a third party's solution to achieve it - for example, Next3D's fine technology for the XBOX 360.

So what about PC S3DHD gaming? NVIDIA of course. NVIDIA's 3D Vision solution is amazing. I use it everyday and I am still dazzled over the effects. I don't know where ATI is while all this S3D excitement is going on - if they don't act fast they will miss this boat.

Take for example DRAGON AGE ORIGINS. I have been playing this for a while now and I am STUNNED at how well the 3D looks. Sure, the menu systems and cinematics are not in 3D - I don't care about that anyway. But once in the game, you can freeze the action to give instructions to your characters in 'stop time' - AND you can swing the camera around a full 360 degrees, panning, tilting and zooming (no dollying :-) in full 3D. And it is remarkable. It really is. It is something you have to witness for yourself as no amount of verbal disclosure comes close to the enjoyment I get out of this game in S3DHD.

Further, at CES NVIDIA announced their 3D Surround technology which enables S3D to be displayed on three monitors side by side for a wraparound effect. Or, if you have the inclination, three projectors on one very wide screen - this eliminates the monitor frames from your field of view. All of this essentially gives you 6 million pixels at 120Hz. Their new GF100 or Fermi GPU is really supposed to rock with 3D too!

NVIDIA showed off their 3D Vision technology with new Blu-ray 3D software players as well, including Arsoft's TotalMedia Theatre 3 and Cyberlink's PowerDVD Ultra. They played trailers for Disney's TOY STORY 3, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, ALICE IN WONDERLAND and others.

Of course they had existing S3D games on display like AVATAR, BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM (I am still playing this one - look for a review soon!), DARK VOID and JUST CAUSE 2 to name a few.

On the stunningly cool side
, NVIDIA gave the world's first sneak peek of YouTube 3D, running on a new S3D demo version of Adobe Flash Player using the NVIDIA 3D Vision shutter glasses. Once this is up and live for the world, there will be MASSIVE S3D user generated content out there. Next3D will also provide a repository for user 3D clips. Can't wait! Exciting times for the 3D industry.

These are the two 3D innovators that you should keep your eye on the most as a consumer.
Sure Panasonic is right up there too (I have my eye on that 152" screen hah!), but for end to end commitment to S3DHD as a large company, I would watch Sony and NVIDIA right now. Trust me. :-) Oh and Next3D is a definite up and comer...

Sony audience photo by Amy-Mae Elliott
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