It’s not that I’m against the concept of 3D gaming. Whatever floats your boat, and whatever makes the studios and publishers money, right? My problem is that everyone is mistaking the 3D fad as innovation.
When the kitsch of 3D in films started making it’s way into games (the biggest, and one of the only, examples being the Avatar game), I thought “hey, if it helps push a few extra units thanks to the rich and the hardcore consumers, cool.” Things went quiet. The game was average at best, and quickly faded from view. All seemed right in the gaming world again.
And then, Nintendo announced the 3DS.
Oh, boy. Here’s the thing about living in a post-Wii world: when Nintendo says jump, the rest of the industry says how high. We’re still dealing with the aftershocks of motion control. Natal! PlayStation Move! Err… Navigation, I mean! Nintendo mastered the art of blurring the line between fad and innovation, and I think Sony and Microsoft are learning the wrong lessons from Nintendo’s success.
To compare the situation to another form of media, it’s similar to what happened in comics back in the 80’s with the release of Watchmen and Dark Night Returns. Those books hit big, shook up the industry, and everyone started imitating the stories for years to come, missing the point altogether. Those books made the impact they did not because they were dark, but because they were something different than everything else that was out at the time.
Instead to trying to be as innovative (if that’s how you see it) as Nintendo was with the Wii, the other companies are simply copying them. And that’s why no one cares about their versions of motion controls.
So here we are, Nintendo announcing their next move, and already the other companies are typing up their “ME TOO!” press releases.
3D is kitsch. It’s novelty. But, it’s Nintendo’s next big thing, so it’s soon to become EVERY ONE’S next big thing. And that’s a problem, if for no other reason than leading Sony and Microsoft to sink millions into playing catch-up instead of walking their own respective lines.