Why 3D is the new HD

Much as HD was the big TV upgrade excuse for this generation, we see 3D being the equivalent for the next gen, whenever it may appear. The thing is, progress comes at a price, and 3D this good just can’t be achieved with a couple of coloured filters and some cardboard goggles.

It still works by the same basic stereoscopic principle, whereby two slightly out of synch versions of the same image are filtered through special lenses to allow the player’s eyes to interpret them with depth. But rather than overlaying two coloured images simultaneously, this method uses two polarised images, displayed alternately at 120 frames per second to create the illusion of a 60 FPS 3D output. And it needs to be run at full 1080p.

So far, only a few top-end HD TV sets have the facility to put out a 3D display. That number will definitely increase as 3D filters through into more movies and their subsequent home releases, but we’re probably going to be looking at a similar roll-out speed to mass-market use as we saw with HD. Maybe even a bit slower, given that a lot of people are still only buying their first HD sets now.

And just as gaming and Blu-ray took time to normalise the high-def format, so it will take a while before we have enough 3D media for the general public to really take serious notice. James Cameron’s upcoming Avatar will shift cinematic perceptions of 3D away from it being a simple Pixar-driven kids’ gimmick, but realistically we expect two to three years before it startsto becomestandardised.

Above: James Cameron might well be responsible for the next phase of gaming, and boy is he excited.

But Blitz is totally aware of this and completely undeterred. After years of derision and doubt, it has cracked a 3D gaming system that works, and works tongue-rollingly well. Invincible Tiger might not be Modern Warfare 3D, but it most definitely takes a hammer to the glass ceiling, opening the way for the rest of the industry to explore over the next few years. And when that exploration happens, it’s going to find very good things indeed.

3D gaming. We are in. We are most certainly in.

Blitz's Invincible Tiger is out in August '09 on XBLA and PSN. And from what we've played so far, it will be a hoot whether you run it in 3D or not.

Any questions regarding my recent3D adventures? Ask me directly viamy GamesRadar profile.

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