As the first day of CES approaches, more and more journalists are boasting their Skype stats and Facebook statuses with “NDA end is drawing near”, mostly referring to the launch of AMD Phenom II, Nvidia 3D Vision, GeForce GTX 285 and 295. Same applies to many other products that will launch at CES.
Personally, I am interested in 3D Vision the most. Then again, you already know I am a bit quirk when it comes to IT, since I also game a lot using OCZ NIA, steering wheels and so on. Ever since I remember, 3D was a big thing for me. I remember buying comic books that came with glasses and becoming hooked on seeing Phantom, Mister No, Transformers, Superman and all “hovering” above the pages. Almost a decade later, I watched Freedie’s Dead using the same red/blue paper glasses. Anaglyph technology was far from perfect, could cause hellish headaches and overall, was not a good technology. But it was Cheap with capital C. Watching movies such as Superman Returns in IMAX 3D (all too short 20 minutes) only begged for decent 3D technology. Dolby 3D provides just that, but the technology is not usable in the world of computers. Big 🙁 from me.
Nvidia’s 3D Vision promised all that, but using active shutter technology meant only one thing – it will be expensive to make. My ex-colleague from The INQ already made his take on how expensive this technology will be, but he didn’t mention the price, and wrote some inaccuracies (one emitter can play host to 1000 glasses if they’re in range – nV demonstrated 3D tech to press using a single emitter for the 50 of us in Munich). I managed to get the price from some sources, and all that I can say, I really hope it won’t be so high. The price I am hearing is $199 for one box. If this really is the future price in e-tail and retail, there is not much to be said besides – you screwed up. Badly.
I would have understanding if Nvidia teamed up with Oakley and brought top notch quality looks, offered customization (for prescription lenses), or something like that, but a cheap plastic-looking part (they actually use an expensive material to ensure durability, but it does look… cheap) costing more than $99 is just something that will not work. I am waiting to see the final product before I bring the judgment upon it, but unless the part comes at acceptable price point, I am sad to see that 3D will probably stay away from mainstream audience. Even OCZ NIA now is in sub-100 bracket, and yes, I would recommend that you go out and buy the part. Playing around with Nvidia’s 3D glasses was a blast on both Nvision and GeForce Plus event in Munich, but the key part is availability to the market. Pricing it out of the range is not something that will speed up the adoption of technology…
Thus, maybe 3D Vision will be a cool product in 2010, when the company will be forced to cut the price down to $99. Until then, this is an expensive gimmick. A gimmick that really works and offers great experience (in my opinion), but a gimmick nevertheless.