Why 3D is the new HD

You don't need it, but you will want it

The phrase “What’s the point?” has long been synonymous with 3D in our circles. Games work without it already, and its inclusion certainly won’t expand the possibilities of game design. But we had exactly the same doubts about the importance of HD a few years ago, and look where we are now.

You didn’t need HD. You probably didn’t even want it at first. But once you’d played with it, exactly how many pounds of puréed disgust did you begin lavishing upon your old standard-def TV with each and every glance? And even since you’ve regularly played in 720p and 1080p, how often has your personal most-wanted-sequels list been inspired by the phrase “That would look great in HD”?


We’re the same way with 3D now. Although it’s not going to be necessary for every type of game (it would be absolutely wasted on a Tetris or a StarCraft, for example), it really does give the spectacle of playing games the same boost that HD does. In fact, it’s almost like the missing part of HD. We’re already used to high polygon counts and realistic lighting making game worlds feel solid and tactile, but when those graphics are augmented by a ‘real’ 3D display, their true potential is completely realised.

We just can’t help but re-imagine our favourite games (Gears of War and WipEout in particularly would be staggeringly visceral), and even how 3D could actually improve certain genres. 3D platforming could be made much more pleasurable with a boost in spatial awareness.


While we’re not totally sold on the need for 3D in movies, it seems a much more natural fit for gaming. Video games are, after all, about creating immersive interaction. That’s the sole reason we’ve seen graphics and sound technology progress every few years since the late ‘70s. Taken within that context, 3D of this fidelity suddenly becomes a completely legitimate and natural stage of that progression. We genuinely won’t be surprised to see it become a completely naturalised part of the gaming landscape in a few years time.

And that time-scale brings us on to our final HD parallel, which is unfortunately a slightly less welcome one.


  • JimmyCooldaddy - July 6, 2010 11:59 p.m.

    I haven't been this excited for gaming since I got my 360 and ps3! I don't think I'll want to play non3d after a while
  • Tenfey - July 6, 2010 8:11 p.m.

    I am not gonna lie, I clicked on this article solely because of the guy dressed as Zeke from Zombies ate my Neighbors.
  • griffed88 - July 22, 2009 6:26 p.m.

    @sharkjaws05 about your vibrating jacket, they have one out already I got to test it out at Showdown LAN last year and it was pretty awesome.
  • showdowturbosplat - July 20, 2009 1:35 a.m.

  • penguinsrule3 - July 15, 2009 12:49 a.m.

    i want to believe in 3D but i have been hurt too many times (you know who you are spy kids 3) plus i aint buyin another more expensive hd tv
  • sharkjaws05 - July 13, 2009 7:39 a.m.

    i see a PS4 coming out of this, i reckon it'll be a great idea but like mushroomer said it'll be hard to play with more than 1 person. also what would be good is some kind of suit that sends off vibrations in parts of your body like if you're playing Red Faction: Guerrilla and someone smacks you with a sledge there would be a massive vibnration on you're back, or maybe even an electric shock. what a way totake vengeance on your mates, "hey dave watch out for this", 'ZZZZZZZ' "aaaah you little bast#@!".
  • mattbru2 - July 12, 2009 5:13 p.m.

    sly cooper 3 came with 3d glasses, and optional 3d missions. hardly any of it poped out of the screen, and it made it that much harder to see what you were doing..... anyone here even care about sly cooper? i mean, i thougt he was kinda cool.........
  • baggins - July 10, 2009 5:16 a.m.

    To those who poo-poo the idea of 3D displays out of hand, I'd ask if you remember the way things were before the last 2D to 3D transition took place? Yes- we've already had one. I'm talking about 3D audio. My fellow old school FPS gamers will remember what it was like playing older games like Quake and Doom with stereo audio. You hear a monster roar and, if you're lucky you'll be able to tell if you need to turn to the right or the left to face it. If you're unlucky you'll end up spinning around 360 degrees taking damage the whole time hunting for the damn monster. Even if you guessed right, you had no idea how far you were going to have to turn, so you'd likely overshoot it. And you know what? We were *perfectly happy* playing those games. If someone had said to us then that they were developing 3D audio, we would have said, "Who needs that?". Then Creative came out with their EAX cards and Unreal was released with full 3D audio support. It was the most immersive experience *ever* in an FPS. We were amazed by an experience we never expected. Now it's (almost) taken for granted. 3D visuals are going to be the same way. A slight step up that makes the gameplay that much better. The games will be fine without it but awesome with it. Just like Unreal on a non-3D audio card. And, I expect, the ease of play will benefit in minor ways we don't even expect at this point. Just like 3D audio allowed us to target the monsters more precisely, 3D displays will probably help with things like leading your shots on a moving target. I'm looking forward to it- even if it is 10 years down the road.
  • solsunforge - July 9, 2009 3:44 p.m.

    yeah getting people to actually piss on themselves would be awesome mckillustrator. But then again that could also be the dumbest thing anyones ever said. I sure hope you enjoy pissing yourself though.
  • MacGyver1138 - July 8, 2009 10:07 p.m.

    NinjaKillr, any 1080p TV will not work. It has to have a 120Hz refresh rate in order to properly display. Many TVs are only 60Hz.
  • IronicBob - July 8, 2009 8:35 p.m.

    The only thing I'm worried about is it making Antlions even MORE scary. Dear god, I can just imagine it: `Valve presents: Half-Life: Scary Scary Mandibles in 3-D`. Shiver.
  • phoenix_wings - July 8, 2009 11:02 a.m.

    Hm. I already have glasses--can't you just get a snap-on attachment? Seriously though--3D would be a nice little bonus, but imo not something worth totally buying into. Maybe as an extra bonus mode or something, extending replay value.
  • PCG_Evan - July 8, 2009 6:02 a.m.

    That Zeke costume is shit-hot.
  • JohnnyMaverik - July 8, 2009 1:28 a.m.

    I'll believe it when I see it -_- Personally I think it's just a way of getting us to pay a bit extra for hardly any more game.
  • Ninja-KiLLR - July 8, 2009 12:49 a.m.

    so any 1080p tv will work?
  • fanboyhunter - July 7, 2009 10:41 p.m.

    If they could just hold that thought till the next gen of consoles I'll be happy. What with multiple red rings, xbl charges and my HDTV. I've spent enough on tech this gen. I think it's time they start working on something new sound wise as well. I'm getting tired of Dolby Digital.
  • doomdoomdoom - July 7, 2009 10:40 p.m.

    nintendo doesn't deserve 3d ps3, pc, and xbox deserve 3D because they try to give realism to gaming 3d will help a lot. The Wii should die and burn for it's sins like taking realism away and trying to make fat people sit in front of tv more by make them think they are losing weight. They are as bad as Diet drinks, have you ever seen a fat person lose weight from those?
  • pedro - July 7, 2009 10:20 p.m. These people may be on to something
  • iKOemos - July 7, 2009 10:13 p.m.

    GODDAMN IT! A new TV upgrade already? Well hopefully it'll be worth it and not some useless gimmick that people don't buy into.
  • garnsr - July 7, 2009 7:54 p.m.

    Do you need to have glasses to even look at the screen while 3D is on? It's impossible to watch 3D movies without the glasses, but everyone in the theater has the glasses going in. Not everyone in the living room will have glasses, so bystanders (especially girlfriends) are even more likely to bitch about you playing games, since it will make them sick watching the screen with no glasses.

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