Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Monday, August 2, 2010

3D 3Dead?

I've excited some interest over on Gamasutra with my post 5 Reasons 3D Display Is Doomed. Perhaps my headline was a trifle overstated for marketing purposes, but I do think the odds are stacked against 3D display becoming a major driver of game industry growth. (3D Display is the rage in theaters since Avatar, and makers of TV sets and Blu-ray players have jumped on it in an effort to sell more hardware; now console game manufacturers are promoting it, too).

I think this could use some very heavy marketing spending to improve its odds of success. But will companies pony up for such an effort? There are two separate issues at work: Whether 3D Display will succeed in movies and TV markets (and thus drive sales of 3D TVs), and whether 3D Display will succeed in the console market. The two are connected; without 3D movies and TV driving sales, it seems highly doubtful that consumers would spend thousands extra for a 3D TV and 3D glasses just to play games. Without a large installed base, will developers create 3D Display-specific titles? Without working on a title to make sure it looks good in 3D Display, how will it look or play? If game titles don't really take advantage of 3D Display, or at least look better, or (best of all) actually have game play that is exciting and requires 3D Display, will anyone adopt it?

The rumblings are starting to appear from many quarters; check out this story on Gizmodo, reporting on Roger Ebert. Or this story on Kotaku, about some less-than-stellar results of trying out 3D games. This does not seem like the early buzz that portends a huge wave of buying into new hardware that costs thousands of dollars. It can happen, but too many things have to go exactly right for me to think this is a high probability.

Where does that leave you as a game marketer? Ignore the hype and push reality; sell the customers on what they can buy now (which is your product). If this begins to happen, you'll know well in advance and can adjust accordingly. Until then I think it's hurting the industry as a whole to be pushing a technology whose benefits are unclear and that you can't even buy right now.

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