Guess what—there’s a brave new world ahead of us, and that world is going be presented in three amazing dimensions! Because, let’s face it, our lives were so bland and two-dimensional before. Right? Well, if we’re to believe the 3-D hype machine that’s currently operating at full capacity, yes.
Though the technology has been around for decades, it’s finally reaching its full potential for mainstream application, and for obvious reasons. Last year, the film industry stood in collective awe when a remake of Ferngully (otherwise known as Avatar) went on to become the highest grossing film in history, due in part to the fact that it utilized 3-D imagery in a more artful and immersive fashion. Predictably enough, the presentational technique caught on and attempts were made to recapture that same innovative essence—minus all of the save-the-rainforest melodrama.
Over the past twelve months or so, movie theaters have played host to an unending maelstrom of would-be blockbusters that were either filmed in or adapted to the 3-D format almost purely for the sake of generating extra revenue. Naturally, the true value of 3-D technology in modern movie-making is up for debate, but at the end the day, money talks. According to an article by Fast Company, “roughly 33% of [box-office] earnings are now generated from 3-D films, and in 2010, six of the top [ten] highest-grossing movies were shot in 3-D.”
It goes without saying that we’ll continue to see much, much more of this trend throughout 2011 and beyond. The question is: will successive 3-D films use the format as a way of telling richer and more detailed stories, or will they exploit the illusion of depth for its marketing value?
In any case, thanks in part to the overwhelming financial success that 3-D technology has brought to the movie business, the trend is going viral. The video game world has now apparently decided that a measly two dimensions will no longer suffice. None other than the Nintendo Corporation itself has decided to contribute to the 3-D craze with a new handheld gaming system due out this spring.
The portable device (called the Nintendo 3DS) will allow users to play games, watch movies, and take pictures in 3-D—all without having to wear those bulky glasses, as the device lets users experience the immersive effect with the naked eye. To some extent, the new device is just a way for the company to take advantage of the excitement that the 3-D format tends to instill. At the same time though, Nintendo knows that true gaming is about immersion. And after all, what’s more immersive than objects and characters literally jumping out of a screen? Not much, that’s for sure!
But wait—that’s not all! Maybe you’re not a moviegoer or a game-player. That’s alright, because in the years to come, the format might just make its way into your living room. Though 3-D television sets didn’t quite take off in 2010 the way retailers and manufacturers expected, expect to see newer and more accessible iterations of 3-D appliances in stores this year. Advancements are being made and prices are starting to drop, which means that the trend may just become affordable enough to catch on. Much like Nintendo’s handheld system, newer 3-D TVs are expected to function without the viewer having to wear cumbersome glasses, which may prove to be the advancement necessary to get consumers on board. Couple that with the fact that 3-D cameras and camcorders will be hitting the shelves at in the near future and you’ve got a recipe for an entirely revamped home theater.
Of course, the concept of a “3-D takeover” is mere conjecture at this point. The advancement of 3-D as a platform will be determined entirely by the average-Joe consumer. Truth be told, the only real drawback to embracing such high-tech entertainment is the extremely high price tag attached with it. As we know, the possibilities are endless when it comes to technology.
Will this latest advancement be one worth buying into? Is it one that purveyors and manufacturers can follow through on with continued innovation? Most importantly, can it be made affordable? And if so, is it worth embracing in the long run?