At this week’s E3 Expo in Los Angeles, Nintendo introduced its newest gaming device – the Nintendo 3DS – a product that is already garnering positive buzz and attention around the Web. The 3DS is the latest addition to a small but growing set of products in tech, and part of a much larger and rising trend in entertainment – 3D. A technology once limited to movie theaters, products with 3D capabilities can be brought to the living room, and now into our hands. As consumers constantly search for more immersive experiences, entertainment providers are responding in a big way. This technology is changing the way we experience entertainment, and in a few years, may become the primary way we consume our media.

Gaming

3D will be a major advancement for gaming, spurring new games, devices, and products to keep this area of entertainment thriving. The Nintendo 3DS will join Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 in the 3D gaming trend. What has fans most excited about the 3DS is the technology itself, which doesn’t require separate 3D glasses in order to experience the special effects. Stereoscopic 3D plays “tricks” on the brain, creating separate images for each eye – what we see as a 3D effect.  PlayStation’s technology also uses stereoscopic 3D, but it will only function on a 3D television, and players will still need to wear 3D glasses while playing. Even so, 3D will take the gaming experience a step further to create a completely immersive experience. The Wii was the first step to this, and now 3D has taken it the rest of the way. As technology advances, 3D gaming could make it’s way onto other devices, like the iPhone, iPad, and home computers for even more personal entertainment consumption.

Movies

Though the use of 3D in movies isn’t new, 2009’s Avatar was the first film in a long time to really use 3D as a part of its storytelling – and it showed at the box office, with a record breaking $2 billion in ticket sales. The next big 3D movie is Toy Story 3, in theaters today. Given Disney and Pixar’s past success in animation and the appeal of the Toy Story franchise, the 3D aspect will only make it more successful. The subject matter of Toy Story 3 is a perfect platform for 3D – lots of action, with realistic subjects that will only shine more with the use of 3D and give movie-goers a more exciting and in-depth viewing experience

TVs

In March, Samsung and Sony debuted 3D televisions, geared toward heavy media consumers and gamers. Though growth has been slow – statistics show that only 6 million units will ship worldwide this year – tech enthusiasts are quick to point out that HDTV adoption took nearly 20 years, and is going strong today. HDTV’s tipping point came gradually, but exploded with growing consumer demand for the highest quality product possible; combined with a decreasing cost of the product and service, it was the perfect storm for HDTV. As costs decrease for 3D sets and consumers see a place in their lives for the product, the same is sure to happen for 3D TV as well. With entertainment options for 3D growing steadily, especially among gaming and movie selections – 3D sets are right on-trend.

PCWorld’s Melissa J. Perenson made a good point about 3D technology, writing,

“Many observers have wondered about whether we ‘need’ 3D for the ordinary stuff — newscasts, sitcoms, and the like. I’d posit that while we don’t ‘need’ it, at some point in the future, 3D will become as natural as 2D video (and still) images are for us today.”

As these options become less expensive and more widely available, curious consumers will be more likely to try these technologies in their homes. Entertainment is a huge part of our culture and economy, and in time 3D will become the norm and secure its place in our everyday lives.


Feature image by jaylopez on Stock.Xchng.