Nintendo's 3D Can Be Switched Off (But What Does This Mean For Games?)

Seeking to allay fears over the possible health problems associated with playing games in 3D, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has said that his company's upcoming 3DS handheld will have a "toggle", allowing users to switch between 2D and 3D.

From a legal standpoint, it's a solid decision. There are many people with conditions that mean playing in 3D is either painful or just doesn't work, so having the option of playing games in 2D gets around this problem easily.

But what does it mean for 3D games? If there's an "off" switch for the technology, does that mean the games won't make fundamental use of it, since they'll need to be designed to run in both 2D and 3D? That'd reduce the tech to a mere gimmick.

Or will it mean that some games will need to be marked "3D Only", meaning those who can't play in 3D (or don't want to) are straight out of luck?

It's a messy situation to find yourself in. Then again, when it comes to the transition to 3D entertainment, messy seems par for the course.

Nintendo to beef up piracy measures in 3-D machine [Forbes]


    3D might use dubble the batterylife... it does require dubble the gfx processing after all... this could be bad for the system if every one plays in 2d.. would not drive 3d development...

    for example you could make a 2D game with dubble the GPU power.. rather than a 3d game with half+3d..... i hope they find some smart way to combat this and encourage 3d development on the 3DS>. mabye force 2d gfx filter that improves quality if 2d mode is on.. to encourage devs to program for 3d.

      It would be nice is it was that straight forward, but I find it hard to imagine the developers doing things such as that - more so if the 3DS uses the same mix of 3d and 2d graphics that the DS uses (it'd be much more work)

      Reading this hurt my brain. Its double... DOUBLE.

      My name is Joe.

      MY. NAME. IS. JOE.

    Firstly, Nintendo has become a gimmick so you didn't need to question it anyway.

    @Heath K
    I would have to disagree.
    Look at movies - a lot are being made in '2D' and then during post-production being transformed to be viewed in 3D. Not the greatest way to do it or to view it, but it still half works and is working with consumers.

    My point and opinion is, 3D in film anyway is gathering people into the cinemas more and more these days, thanks to films like Avatar and a lot of the animated films last year released in 3D.

    Its making movies gross more with the higher priced tickets - but then could they release the 3D games with a higher price compared to regular 3DS games or DS games?

    So... developers would see 3D as something that consumers would find appealing. Add 3D onto 2D games probably, again, like films not the best way to do it if you want a quality game - but i don't see developers being lazy over this 'gimmick' as they wanna cash in as much as possible.

    I expect they will go the option of 3d only. They won't want it to come across as just a crappy gimick.

    I don't expect any main nintendo games to fall under that 3d only category though. They may have parts of the game that require 3d, mini games, optional missions, etc, but i can't see them locking anyone out of their own games, will just give developers the option to do it.

    Do we know what type of storage the 3DS will use?

    This may be steering the topic off to the left a little but I was just wondering how much storage space would be needed for a "3D" game.
    I can't imagine it being small like a regular DS cartridge, even more so if they have both 2D and 3D for a single game. Unless both versions are released separately?

      Given that tiny little SDHC cards can hold upwards of 4GB I'm sure that memory won't be an issue. I am curious about what this technology will be like - the fact that no-one seems to have any solid idea how it will work leads me to suspect this will turn out to be another Virtual Boy - I'm happy to be proven wrong.

    I don't see this as being much of an issue.

    Most games already use perspective, parallax, etc to give the illusion of depth (even 2D games). The 3DS screen will add stereoscopic depth perception to the illusion. Whilst this will make scenes more convincingly three-dimensional, you're not talking about such a paradigm shift that it will be possible to create games that would be impossible to play in 2D.

    I doubt it would even be more difficult to develop games that can be played in both 3D and 2D. You just output one of the two 'points-of-view'.

    Like others have said, although 3D movies are all the rage now they're all still perfectly watchable in 3D. What kind of game or movie would be impossible to experience in 2D?

      Actually, I hope the *do* create game mechanics based off the 3d, rather then just making the graphics 3d.
      An example would be, say your given a room, and you have to 'look around' to find a hidden object.

      By ensure games can be played in 2d and 3d, you are removing the one thing that 3d could bring to games over movies: interactivity.

        Gamers 'look around' in games all the time.

        3D in games used to mean you didn't have to look at the world from a fixed plane anymore - you could 'look around' and see stuff from whatever angle.

        For a while virtual reality headsets seemed like the next big thing, but all they were were a way of viewing the 3D scenes with a better illusion of depth (and with head-tracking).

        The 3DS isn't much different except that it won't require an enormous, heavy headset to get the same depth perception (and it won't necessarily have head-tracking).

        For a 3D game to to have game mechanics (or interactivity) that were 'exclusively' 3D, they would have to involve something that a person with two eyes can achieve that a person with just one eye necessarily cannot.

        Believe it or not, people with just one eye can function almost as well as people with two eyes, as their brains use perspective to perceive depth even without stereoscopic vision. People with just one eye can generally drive vehicles for instance.

        There may be some things that people with TRUE depth perception (ie. they have two eyes) can achieve that people with only only one eye definitely cannot, but whether or not those things would make great games or lead to greater interactivity in games is a matter of debate.

    I'm interested to see what kind of technology will power this. It could be one of those sharp holographic screens but I wouldn't be suprised if Nintendo just do 3D using headtracking with an inbuilt front camera.

    This just proves what little point 3D has. Unless games build upon 3D to begin with, I don't think they have much point.

    Nintendo? Gimmicks? Perish the thought.

    Nintendo, gimmicky? That sounds very unlikely...

    Oh thats classic,

    Like how whenever I get a new DS game I try and figure out how to play without touch contrils!

    My wife on the other hand is the complete opposite and gets dissapointed when there is little or no support.

    So maybe games will still work on the old systems and I can keep my Lite.

    Games aren't like movies - they're calculated in 3D to begin with, merely projected onto a 2D display. Movies on the other hand are not, so comparisons with movies and how they have to be made to 'take advantage of the technology' are false and misleading, as 3D games have always been '3D', merely limited to '2D' by display technology. (since there appears to be some confusion, it should also be pointed out that unlike movies, it costs nothing extra to make a game '3D')

    As a case in point, pretty much all PC games have been playable in stereoscopic 3D for at least a decade now, and the majority of people who've been playing them in '2D' haven't missed out on anything.

    Unfortunately, this article is pointlessly inflammatory - '3D' *IS* a gimmick. As amazing as it can look, its a display technology, nothing more. It isn't holograms or virtual reality or any of that kind of nonsense - there's nothing 'taken away' by viewing the same content in 2D, you're not missing out on anything other than it looking less 'cool'.

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