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The first signs that gamers don't want 3D? EA backs away from the TV tech

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Electronic Arts will be moving investment away from the development of 3D games according to its boss, John Riccitiello. Speaking at an annual shareholders meeting yesterday, he said that "We have not seen a big uptake in 3D gaming" and "we have not seen a big uptake of 3D TVs in the home."

EA now plans to focus its investment in growth areas like mobile, social and online gaming. "We see really high returns in these markets and very poor returns focusing on 3D, so we are allocating our resources toward new innovations," said Riccitiello. It does make sense, after EA's purchase of casual games giant PopCap a few weeks ago.


Above: There's no report of Riccitiello symbolically breaking a pair of 3D glasses. It's just for illustration

While not explicitly stated, we're confident this strategy does not apply to Nintendo's 3DS, which requires every game to run in 3D. Moving away from the handheld would be abandoning an entire platform, whereas it is much more logical to avoid pouring resources into an optional feature that as little as 2.5% of the home console market (in the UK at least) actually has access to.

But where does this leave Sony, who've poured millions into the tech and keep saying how the 3D market is set to explode? Electronic Arts is a major player to have on your team (as Sega found out to its huge expense with Dreamcast), so losing faith in 3D at this time is a pretty major blow. But it isn't necessarily forever. Riccitiello concluded by saying that "We are not here trying to drive a market. We are here to react to what customers want." So in other words, EA is a business, not a charity. But if the public does decide 3D is the future, and buys into it in large enough numbers, EA will be back on board.

29 July, 2011

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21 comments

  • FoxdenRacing - July 29, 2011 6:55 p.m.

    It's about time EA formally announces their "strategy" for moving forward: "We want to be a Zynga knockoff!" I wholly expect the enormous companies that are only interested in chasing where the money was yesterday to abandon gaming proper almost entirely and jump towards glorified flash games, citing the ridiculous profit margins there...without realizing those margins are only possible due to a lack of serious competition in that market at current. It's easy to have an enormous market share when you're the only game in town! It's going to hurt them in the long run, when app gaming is no longer new & novel (at least to those that weren't aware of places like Newgrounds a decade ago)...not to mention when the app markets are flooded. There's only so much you can do with a processor that has to be battery-friendly. 3D in the home is simply ahead of its time...the generation it's trying to replace isn't going to start wearing out for another 5-10 years at bare minimum; I don't see any significant uptake in it before then. People typically don't buy big-ticket items because they're new and shiny...they buy big-ticket items when their currently-owned version of that item is worn, broken, and/or no longer compatible.
  • LTS - July 29, 2011 6:04 p.m.

    I use 3D. For gaming. Semi-regularly. It works sometimes, it doesn't others. So far, the only game I've played through entirely in 3D is the 2010 Tron Game. Since it's setting is a completely digital world, the 3D effect was wonderful and fit right in. I've also played Killzone 3 (3D looks wonderful, but can be distracting on certain missions), Auditorium HD (Honestly, it's barely noticeable), and Enslaved (Pretty good, but it's obviously a thing they kind threw in, considering it's part of a DLC and it's not up to par with other games) At the moment, 3D is 'the best' you can get graphics wise because it's essentially 1080p x2, so the graphics look even more stunning. The thing to it though, you gotta have all the setting right otherwise it looks crappy. You need to have the 3D settings all the way down and brightness up a bunch otherwise it's not too pleasant. As for games vs movies 3D, movie 3D works a lot better because there's a fixed perspective at all times. No matter how you watch Avatar, each scene will always be directed and framed the exact same way. With a game however, with moving the character around and all, that's when things tend to get strange sometimes. Also, I think 3D will work a lot better on next gen stuff. The PS3 Graphics card must absolutely hate shadows, because in almost every game I've ever played, they stick out because they're blocky and glitchy looking. I think it was Yahtzee who said that "I only notice the 3D effect on stuff when it screws up". Also, does anyone else think that 3D will really only work on a game were there are no 'low-res' textures, Something like Heavy Rain (WHY DIDN't THAT HAVE 3D!!!) /End random rantings
  • Defguru7777 - July 29, 2011 6:03 p.m.

    First signs? The first sign wasn't the slow 3DS sales, or the general disinterest by the gaming community? 3D isn't that big of a deal. Maybe in a few years, when they're actually able to do something big with it, but I doubt it.
  • Doctalen - July 29, 2011 4:41 p.m.

    Was never into the idea of 3D. To me, a 3D movie or 3D is is more like the holodecks off of Star Trek, fully immersible, not this oh here is three seconds of slow motion and a bullet coming at you. Only way 3D will be even slightly interesting is if holograms are used to make a new environment that changes as you move in it.
  • MyCoolWhiteLies - July 29, 2011 4:07 p.m.

    The funny thing is, I don't care about 3D for movies, but I do care about it for games. Movies, with their constant cuts and changing perspectives, just don't work well for me in a 3D format. Games however, with their usually constant perspective and depth of field, provide a much more interesting and effective use of the technology. The 3DS doesn't really do it for me though. The screen is just too small to really convey the sense of immersion that 3D is best for.
  • Moondoggie1157 - July 29, 2011 3:55 p.m.

    @db1331: That was the funniest thing I have read on here in quite a while, thanks for that! I never knew 3D was in demand haha, I honestly can't think of one person who has a 3D Tv or has any interest in getting one. It was never a good idea, and it won't be a good idea until it can be done flawlessly. Holograms and shit, Awww yeeee. (holo-porn? anyone?)
  • Manguy17 - July 29, 2011 2:11 p.m.

    I still play most of my games on my grandads standard def tv, and im not exactly begging for an upgrade. 3d just isnt good yet, its alright in cinima, but for such a large price point people want fully developed tech, not a " this is the best we can manage right now" situation. or you just have lots of money to spend on a tv
  • eliguy83 - July 29, 2011 2:10 p.m.

    @LordZarlon And don't forget that each of those was actually an improvement over the previous medium. (So, for example, it wasn't surprising that the public was going to eventually convert to HDTVs, because they just look *so* much better than CRTs.) But with 3D, I'd say it's arguable, at best, whether it's actually an improvement. Instead it's something that's tacked on. So I suppose for people only just now getting into HD, a 3DTV is like getting an HDTV with a little extra, while for people who've already had HD for 3 or more years, it's like a whole new re-purchase, which is not at all enticing or (in my opinion) worth it.
  • kassmageant - July 29, 2011 1:58 p.m.

    funny, it looks like everything is playing out exactly opposite to what we saw at last E3's. Ninny was pwning, Sony standing tall, and MS was ridicule of every core gamer. And were we stand? Mario have small heart attack, sony have lags, and MS is grinning over the pile of money made on kinect ( who would have thought!) and good game sales - lately they broke some xbla profit record or something like that
  • LordZarlon - July 29, 2011 1:24 p.m.

    I think that technology companies have been too ambitious. The public is slow to accept major upgrades and improvements to their technology. How many new techs have we seen introduced and how many have actually stuck. The VCR, CD's, DVD's and High def tv's. Those are the ones that have succeeded. The public as a whole just accepted High def tv's. They aren't going to go for high def 3D tv's after just investing in non 3D ones. It's just a case of too much too soon.
  • db1331 - July 29, 2011 1:01 p.m.

    I think Kenny Powers put it best when he said, "Dude, don't get all excited. 3D is gay. Nobody wants to sit on their couch popping bubbles out of the air like some kind of fucked up Ray Charles."
  • UsernameLoser - July 29, 2011 12:41 p.m.

    3DS aren't required to run in 3D unless it's AR, which sucks ass.
  • crumbdunky - July 29, 2011 12:19 p.m.

    People, also, down't want to wear the sodding glasses which kids WILL break all the damn time and ARE expensive to replace-fact is it's not an attractive look or option and until it goes glasses free and headache free it will struggle. And it's way too dear.
  • avantguardian - July 29, 2011 12:11 p.m.

    "we have not seen a big uptake of 3D TVs in the home." no shit, guy. everyone i know (myself included) that owns a decent hd tv bought it within the last 3-4 years. the idea of people plopping down however much for a BRAND-NEW tv with the added bonus of flinching at shit that isn't really there while turning green with nausea hasn't really taken off yet.
  • fetalspray - July 29, 2011 12:04 p.m.

    3D isnt even 3D the game/film is already in three dimensions anyway its just a layering effect, one that draws your eyes to unimportant inanimate objects in the foreground when your meant to be concentrating on the action.
  • andybeans - July 29, 2011 12:03 p.m.

    Every time there's a leap in 3D technology people say it's going to revolutionise media... it's similar to the way Gamesradar make sweeping predictions about the future of gaming based upon a single quote or statement. 3D will be an evolution not a revolution, a series of discoveries which will filter into our homes slowly, not an almighty '...and then there was light' event. The trouble for the press, and not just the gaming press, is that evolution doesn't make headlines and so we're always going to be bombarded with ridiculous 'THIS IS THE FUTURE!' claims.
  • Sniped50 - July 29, 2011 11:47 a.m.

    "We're confident this strategy does not apply to Nintendo's 3DS, which requires every game to run in 3D. Moving away from the handheld would be abandoning an entire platform, whereas it is much more logical to avoid pouring resources into an optional feature that as little as 2.5% of the home console market (in the UK at least) actually has access to." The problem with your theory is, well, the poor 3DS sales figures tell that story. Not a lot of people actually own a 3DS at this point in time. And it wouldn't be abandoning the platform TECHNICALLY, as (in my view, at least) the 3DS is just a 3D version of the DS: EA could still make games for that instead. That's just IMO though.
  • Strawhat - July 29, 2011 11:45 a.m.

    Lucky Microsoft. Other than Kinect hate, nothing bad is happening to them.
  • jmcgrotty - July 29, 2011 11:42 a.m.

    Oh come on, everyone knows that this is just another definitive step in Nintendo going software-only, like Sega.
  • jackthemenace - July 29, 2011 11:41 a.m.

    I never thought 3D was the way to go. Maybe in 10 or 15 years, when we have all sorts o' fancy hologram equipment, and those dang kids'll have some new fads to play with and I'LL be looking back at "The Good Old Days" when everything was 2D, maybe 3D'll catch on. But at the minute, it just seems... Unnecessary. Things work fine in plain 2D, so why change 'em? Also, the one time I tried to use a 3DS, it was ridiculously disorientating. It might've been because I wear glasses, I don't know, but I hated it.

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