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3D Gaming: A Tester's Worst Nightmare?

An opinion piece on 3D Gaming from the view point of a person in QA.

This is a "rant" I wrote for my website C.Dump Magazine about my opinion on the future of testing with 3D TVs. Its not very long and it is the first piece I posted on my site after launch. There will be more QA related articles to come.

3D Gaming: A testers worst nightmare?

According to Sony, The next big thing in the TV industry for the next decade is 3D movies & gaming in your living room. Most of us have already plunked down nearly 20 dollars to see a 3D IMAX movie over the years. Many are excited about the possibility of experiencing the same (yet on a much smaller scale) 3D wonders in their living rooms. I assume many gamers are also looking forward to 3D video games. I on the other hand am not.

A Quick History

There is only a handful of 3D movies that have came out in the last decade but 3D technology has been around for quit some time. It all began way back in the late 1800’s. So technically 3D is not a “new” technology and has been around in some form for well over 100 years. There was 3D files in the 20s and the “golden age” of 3D films on the big screen were in the 1950s.

In the last decade however 3D films have made a come back thanks to IMAX and RealD. The first half of the decade seen a small number of films and animated movies making their way to 3D IMAX. By the later half of the decade the movie industry seen how much profit can be made off 3D IMAX over regular 2D viewings. Now with 3D movies coming out more regularly. TV manufacturers (mainly Sony) are whipping up a media storm about the future of 3D TVs and are forcing them out as early as this year.

If they sell well it means billions for Sony and other TV manufactures like Samsung and Toshiba. It is not just movies Sony is pushing for these new TVs. 3D TV is also the wave of the future for Video Games. 3D tech demos of GT5 and Super Stardust HD are being played at major video game entertainment show around the world.

A Testers Opinion

I did see this coming. Being a Sony compliance tester I got the heads up that 3D gaming was going to be added to Sony’s compliance testing. I noticed it when looking through the updated TRC (Technical Requirements Checklist) document in the fall of 2009. Up to that point it was still a rumor that wasn’t officially made public by Sony yet. At first I got kinda excited. Something new to play with and test is always fun. But after giving it some thought. I realize 3D gaming will be a nightmare to test on.

Although I did see Avatar in 3D IMAX. I did not really enjoy the 3D experience. Wearing glasses to watch a movie is uncomfortable, While extended periods of time watching 3D movies sometimes gave me headaches along with dizziness when the action picked up. At work I stare at a TV screen for 8 to 16 hours a day. Which gives me headaches, eye strain and sometimes dizziness already. Add on top of that 3D Glasses and more then likely broken blurry 3D effects on screen for the same amount of time. No thank you. I think I’d quit my job quit frankly.

Although I don’t expect all testers to be switched over to 3D TVs and testing on it in one foul swoop. It will be a slow gradual transition. Just like the transition that will take place getting 3D TVs into your living room. So at the moment I’m hoping I’ll work my way out of QA by the time 3D testing comes in full swing. I’m (not so) secretly hoping 3D TV flops before it gets its feet firmly on the ground.

- Billy Stever

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