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GDC Online: Research Finds Glasses, Misinformation Biggest Challenges For 3D

GDC Online: Research Finds Glasses, Misinformation Biggest Challenges For 3D Exclusive

October 5, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

Much is being made of 3D as the next big frontier in home entertainment, but the actual breadth of consumer interest remains something of an open question, as does how much time widespread adoption will take to attain.

Aiming to get a clearer view of the 3D audience, research firm Interpret conducted a detailed online survey, polling 1500 consumers ages 12-65 to find out how much they knew about 3D technology, what they liked and disliked about it, and whether they planned to buy a 3D-able television. Interpret's Michael Cai presented his findings at the Game Developers Conference Online in Austin.

Regarding the research methodology itself, Cai said it was important to the research not only to capture a thorough range of age and gender groups, but to mine for stats as deep as possible.

"We didn't just ask them up front 'do you have a 3D TV,'" he explained. "We showed them a series of questions really letting them know how we define 3D."

The study found 13 percent of people who are in the market to purchase a new high-definition television in the next year said they "definitely will buy" a 3D-ready television, while 10 percent "definitely will not buy."

Among those hoping to bring 3D into their homes, the most popular reason was the attempt to create a movie theater experience in their living room.

In terms of major obstacles to 3D, Cai said the glasses issue came up time and time again-- both the physical discomfort of wearing them and the expense, said Cai.

46 percent of people who said they didn't want a 3D television said that having to wear glasses was the main reason they resisted the tech. But the biggest barrier for 3D seems to be price, with 69 percent claiming that the televisions, which cost thousands of dollars, are cost-prohibitive.

Nevertheless, the most interesting takeaway from Interpret's research appears to be that consumer education is set to be the biggest challenge to 3D adoption -- even among game console owners, generally a tech-savvy audience.

63 percent of console owners think that all they need is a firmware update to enable 3D in their homes, the research found. 83 percent of consumers think that all 3D requires glasses, despite increasing awareness of Nintendo's 3DS and the growth of similar glasses-free 3D tech.

Cai said the 3DS in particular is "going to be a very important driver" of acceptance and desire of 3D technologies, suggesting that all parties hoping to make strides in the 3D space will suffer a bit from Nintendo's decision to launch the handheld in spring 2011, rather than this holiday.

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