How to advertise 3D games without people having 3D TVs

Over the next few years Sony, Nintendo, and maybe even Microsoft will have to figure out how to advertise 3D games without people having 3D TVs to watch the advertisements on and will have to convey them in magazines without having to resort to expensive lenticular cards or putting cheap Red/Blue glasses in every issue.   


I think Sony has a neat way to show off the games online or on a TV without any extra a cheat...but it is useful for giving people the concept of 3D without them having it.
It’s not perfect, but you can get the feel of it and understand 3D a bit better using that sort of trickery. I think a lot of companies trying to sell 3D on TV or on the computer will use a similar method to convey what 3D movies, games, TV show, etc look like without people having the necessary tech.

In magazines I think high-end big budget titles might use that motion 3D hologram postcard tech. Putting that in a magazine would be very expensive, but it would be effective to convey that the game will be in 3D and what that means. On the other side in most cases such 3D holograms are usually removable meaning people would pull them out of the magazine and put them up on the wall or refrigerator which is 1000x increased exposure for the advertising. A slightly cheaper solution is to use the red/blue 3D glasses and put those cheap glasses in the magazine along with a few advertisements and some other content in 3D that shares the cost of the special printing around to several advertisers. 
I especially think Nintendo will have to figure out advertising that doesn’t use glasses because that is the WHOLE POINT of 3DS. If you need glasses to see the advertising then they will toss a lot of confusion into their message. “Wait, you don’t need glasses for the games…but you need…but I can see…wait...3DS is 3d right?” The best solution for them to keep on message is to use the 3D holograms on cardstock and swallow the cost.

I really don't think 3D will go away. Just as with computer gaming, people will whine, "What now I need a $200 video card?!...screw that," but eventually people will accept it. They will conceed, "My TV comes with 3D therefore I can either use it or not. Or I can spring for the "better" TV that maybe doesn't need glasses but I'll settle for an experience where there are eight spots to sit to see the TV correctly." I think the first thing to go 3D will be cell phones and computers. Small screens typically with only one or two people (viewers) watching the screen. Eventually, in 10 years all TVs will be 3D and the cost will be how many view angles and screen brightness. In the end we’ll all have 3D screens in our lives even they people who HATE them and will always hate them will buckle under because in order to own a cell phone or a computer will mean having that ability “baked-in” to the hardware. Those people will turn it off because it gives them a splitting head-ache, but from time to time they will be forced to use it to watch something or do something that needs 3D to work.

And that is point, just as with video cards that could render polygons and textures in 1995, most people won't see the point because so few games and mostly just shooters needed them. Now nearly all games are 3D, even the ones that don't look 3D are made by rendering polygons in some cases. Now even the most basic netbook needs to be able to render some polygons to do anything. The same will happen with 3D more and more content will be 3D more and more uses for having that 3D will be made and eventually you need it.    
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Revolutionaries at Sony: The Making of the Sony Playstation

Nobody seems to know much about how the Playstation really came about.  There is heresay, rumor and just downright falsehoods that are brayed on forums, but few know any of teh story from first hand accounts.  So I plan, as a book review, to take some bits from a book about how Playstation came about, and also talk about what it.  I'm doing this as a blog that I won't limk to the forum for a reason.  Moreover this book was written in 1997/98 so figures are based on past prices and the full accomplishmenst of PlayStation were not know.  Think of what you read a window to the past.  NOTE: Please do not cut & paste what I trasnscribe here because this took a lot of effort in trasnscription, but please feel free to 'link' to this blog if you like what you have read.


Revolutionaries at Sony: The Making of the Sony Playstation and The Visionaries Who Conquered The World of Video Games

by Reiji Asakura


It was September of 1984, in a room at a Sony factory in Atsugi Japan. An incredibly stunning picture was taking form on the monitor before Ken Kutaragi's eyes. On the screen was a computer-generated image of a person's face. The image changed shape at the touch of a slide control. The face would become bigger or smaller, merge with and then separate from adjacent objects. 

The computer graphics system-called System G, the "G" from gazo (Japanese for 'image') was revolutionary in that it was capable of real-time 3-D texture mapping. The image not only moved instantly on command, but also appeared to be a substantive object. Even at that time such movement could be achieved after time-consuming calculations movement command sequences, but this was the only system that could change the shape of an image instantaneously. Kutaragi today a vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. (SCEI), was astonished that the image moved at the touch of a switch. He recalls, "It was far more advanced than state-of-the-art graphics systems of the time. It was awesome. I was really impressed that such a thing existed.''  

System G was a geometric engine for 3-D processing developed for broadcasting networks. An example of a current application is its use by Nippon Television Network Co. to change the size of computer-generated faces in the popular TV program Denpa Shonen. 

At the time, the Information Processing Research Center (now disbanded) was the nerve center of Sony's research in digital signal processing. The center's work spanned a broad range of digital technologies, including data compression, networking, and communication protocols. Rutabaga was one of its researchers. It can only be described as fate that Kutaragi was working there, that the System G prototype had just been completed, and that the paths of this man and this technology had crossed.  



As Kutaragi watched the freely moving image produced by System G, inspiration struck. What a powerful game machine we could make with System G,'' he thought. This was the moment when the concept of a system that later blossomed into the Playstation was born: a graphics computer that anyone can use. What fascinating, exciting games people could play if System G were combined with a game machine. The Famicom (short for family computers) game machines popular at the time displayed simple, two-dimensional images, but their entertainment value was outstanding. How wonderful it would be, thought Kutaragi, if the Famicom standard could be enhanced with System G.  

Kutaragi had always been fascinated by computer graphics. The subject of his university thesis was how to apply computer graphics to medical equipment. The study explored methods of detecting abnormalities from CT scanned X-ray images and individual hemoglobin shapes, and methods of extracting deformed cell nuclei and making them more visible. Because of his interest in computer graphics, he realized at once how revolutionary System G was.  

But Kutagari's fascination went beyond computer graphics-he loved everything about computers. He bought all the game machines and PCs that he could lay his hands on. One of his chief interests was computer hardware, especially the application of semiconductor technology and microprocessors. "When I was a postgraduate researcher at university, Intel launched the 4004 and 8080 microprocessors," recalls Kutaragi. "As soon as they came out, I bought the world's first electronic calculator. It cost Y100,000 ($1000) back then! it's a treasured antique now. After I joined Sony, I bought a large-scale integrated circuit (LSI) circuit sample of the Ping-pong game, assembled it, took it to a ski resort, and played with it. in my room by plugging it into a TV. It was good fun."  
Even so, his experience with computer games had not prepared him for System G; he had never before seen computer-generated images that moved so freely before his eyes, responding immediately to his commands. He thought it would be great if the technology was used to create a game machine.  

Kutaragi had purchased a Famicom for his two-year-old son when it was released in 1983. He had played with it himself and found it great fun. "I tested it from a business perspective. I placed a Sony MSX and a Famicom before my son and observed him, waiting to see which he would choose. He chose the Famicom. He seemed to enjoy playing with it much more than the MSX.  I was truly impressed by the Famicom." 

The expression "from a business perspective'' is typical of Kutaragi. He was exploring the business marketability of the systems, and his child's preferences told him that it would be the Famicom, not the MSX, that would become popular with users.  

What did he find impressive about the Famicom?  


Kutaragi explains, "In those days, the IBM PC displayed just one color: green. It was enjoyable enough playing the Ping-Pong game on that screen, but the Famicom went a step further and was truly revolutionary. Famicom and Sony's MSX created eight-dot images, but the Famicom could produce single-dot images. I thought it was incredible. The software, Donkey Kong and Road Runner, was fun too, but my interest was more in the hardware." 

That is why when Kutaragi encountered System G, he thought immediately of how much fun it would be to combine it with the Famicom, and why he resolved to do so.

NEXT: Pt. 2 Ken & Sony the Early Days
My thoughts

Who knew?  If you talk to Nintendo fans it almost as if Sony cribbed the whole idea for PS from them. Either trhat or you hear the story about Kutaragi's daughter and not the story of  'System Gazo' developed at Sony.  Yet, as we can see Ken had ideas about game systems when even Nintendo was still starting out in videogames on their first console.  I think this also illustrates how much prior R&D done at Sony motivated what Sony would later make, yet also shows Sony weakness for not full 'understanding' the uses R&D could be used to make.  As we will see later that idea to push forward with the best technology is what made them successful when other companies relied on primitive affordable technologies.     

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Are games about Vietnam dry wells?

I have to admit my mind is aways saying, "Don't do it man" when I hear about a fps shooter tackling the Vietnam era.  In some cases like CoD: Black Ops I can see where they handliy avoid the conflict by presenting game play before, during and after Vietman as well.   

 I wonder why the word Vietnam sets my teeth on edge, why do I say "Don't do it!" so vehemently? Why does that war, even the word or concept flip my switch? It baffles me a little even myself. Right now some of the more popular games are about Modern warfare, and this is at a time when my country is at war. In the last eight or nine years games about the middle east have come and gone, I played them and I enjoyed them...maybe that makes me an unaware Ugly American at some level. Maybe, that just means like anything else we I can work out some inner question and subconscious cantharis through these games. Or maybe it is simply what is happening today hasn't galvanized into a "cultural dialogue" that has been processed, cut up, and sold to our national mindset/western mindset to tell us if what is happening today was "good, bad, or just ugly." 

For Vietnam I think the cultural dialogue has occurred, that dialogue was brutal and painful. In the case of Vietnam the marketing has been at work for too long. I've been told Vietnam was BAD JUJU, so that's what I know, just as I know Coke is tasty and Pepsi is too sweet. What to think has been decided by my upbringing in my home, by the media, by politics, and by my own judgement to a small extent.

And, yeah I'm old enought for this to have been part of the family dynamics. I can even admit recalling the feeling of dread deciding over my fifth birthday when someone game me a GI Joe. And, there was a time when my mother didn't want me to have a toy machine gun that made sounds. My father was out of the Army and rasing a family by the time Vietnam really came to the forfront, but my uncles were there and one uncle was in Boston College start his degree hoping he'd not be drafted.  When my uncles came home they were never teh same.  No amount of family visits and getting back to work really repaired my uncles in my father eyes, as he said, "They went off kids and came back as men who were & weren't my brothers."  The GI Joes for birthdays and whether or not I coudl have a toy gun were empassioned issues.

 I think some older gamers might have the same reaction to hearing about games about Vietnam. Aas for myself,  I'm not old enough to not have remembered the war, but very much old enough to have seen what ist does to loved ones or how society dragged the meemory of ist out through the 70s. . The broken uncles, GI Joes for birthdays and whether or not I could have a toy gun were empassioned issues my whole childhood . I can't say my mother was ever on e of those 'ranting mommy's" who felt the sky was falling when a toy she didn't approve of got in my hands. But looking back there were times when the trepidation of GI Joes, gun toys, and typical boys rough play. In fact I would almost say my mother was the original Marge Simpson, she never yelled much but she did make that Marge groan when she disapproved.

So maybe its just people my age, we have palpable connection with that war, it after effects on the American psyche, and we still feel uncomfortable with it today. Then again there does seem to be a real sentiment even among people younger then myself that Vietnam games simply don't work. There's not hook near the middle of that war to balance upon. You can't make an "Inglorious Bastards" about Vietnam. And if you did exactly who would be the one going around bashing brains out with a Louisville slugger? The Americans? The North Vietnamese? The South Vietnamese? For better, or likely for the worse we view WW II more simply in black and white. But for Vietnam we agonize over the shades of gray, and maybe that is good. Nevertheless, that means making a game becomes harder where the simplicity of who the protagonists and who the analogist are and what their moral roles would be clouds.

But let's deal with facts. Do Vietnam games sell?
 Yes, they do. I was shocked to see that that Shellshock Vietnam sold nearly a million units. I'll assume that Battlefield Vietnam by DICE while it might not have been the most popular of the series sold fair well too. Certainly over the years Rambo games have sold well. So I feel confident that the problem with such games are not sales.  Again more gamers out there are younger then I if even just slightly and without a doubt when they topic of such games comes up it makes bigger headlines and gains more click through interest.  Therefore, it should be a surprise these games sell.  


Do Vietnam games get good receptions from game critics?

PC Battlefield Vietnam - Digital Illusions/EA Games, 2004 83.50% 52 Reviews
PC Squad Battles: Vietnam - HPS Simulations, 2001 81.50% 2 Reviews
PC Wings Over Vietnam - Third Wire/Bold Games, 2004 69.67% 6 Reviews
PC Search & Rescue: Vietnam MED+EVAC - InterActive Vision Games/Global Star Software, 2002 67.71% 7 Reviews
DS Operation: Vietnam - Coyote Console/Majesco Games, 2007 66.75% 16 Reviews
XBOX Conflict: Vietnam - Pivotal Games/Global Star Software, 2004 66.58% 40 Reviews
PS2 Conflict: Vietnam - Pivotal Games/Global Star Software, 2004 64.85% 31 Reviews
PC Line of Sight: Vietnam - Nfusion/Atari, 2003 64.69% 17 Reviews
PC War Over Vietnam - HPS Simulations, 2004 64.33% 3 Reviews
PC Conflict: Vietnam - Pivotal Games/Global Star Software, 2004 60.62% 21 Reviews
PC Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh Trail - e-Pie Entertainment & Technology, 2004 57.00% 1 Review
PC Whirlwind Over Vietnam - G5 Software/Evolved Games, 2007 56.91% 11 Reviews
PC Platoon: The 1st Airborne Cavalry Division in Vietnam - Digital Reality/Strategy First, 2002 52.62% 16 Reviews
PC Vietnam: Black Ops - Fused Software/ValuSoft, 2000 52.00% 1 Review
PC Vietnam 2: Special Assignment - Single Cell Software/ValuSoft, 2001 51.33% 3 Reviews
PC Marine Heavy Gunner: Vietnam - Brainbox Games/Groove Games, 2004 48.25% 8 Reviews
PC Elite Warriors: Vietnam - Nfusion/Bold Games, 2005 48.18% 11 Reviews
...etc...the list goes on.

So, from what I see games made by good developers do well, those made by budget developers do badly for overall scores. So again, I don't think as games they are scored lower because of the subject. At best we can say, in the reviews you are more likely to see "tough subject" or "American angst..."; yet on balance these games are reviewed according to quality not subject matter. 

So, yes, the problem with these games is me. I have a limited comfort level with them, and they make me uneasy. They are possible to make, they do sell, and they do seem to be reviewed on their own merits. So I guess they are not dry wells....I just wish they were.     And, yeah that's all my hang up I need to get over, I'll never say these games shouldn't be made or sold.  For myself I just have a hard time playing them and always will I fear.
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Look in the mirror and you'll see you are the XBL problem.

Sadly, I think it is easy to see that XBL has a greater problem with offensive language on it service the  other services have so far.. There are many reasons for that and maybe if the tools to speak in more game more easily were supplied on PSN their problem would be the same. But for better or worse more XB360 have been sold, more people play online with that service and in each box MS provides a headset. 

I’ll step on some toes by saying this, but XBOX Live and what is said on it is everyone’s fault who particaptes in the community. On once or on every day, it hardly matter; what si said on it is each members fault shared equally. A community that accepts racist, bigoted and infamitory language shares the blame equally on some level. If some people throw around offensive terms it because so many others accept it in silence. 

That may seems like blaming everyone for a few bad apples, but there is no other way a community can work. A community by it very definition is a group that shares some common things. Given XBL members are not based in one locality, then the definition of community is based on other shared elements.. It would be one thing if people said, “Well in this these three or four games, at this time of night, if your in a game called this you might hear such offensive language” because then you could equate it to the ‘skid-row’ of some city. But offensive language that is in every game at any time is a community gone bade from core to skin.

When crude offensive language is that pervasive it cannot a ‘just a few’ bad apples. Its like bullying in a schools, it not the bullies they get you down it everyone else’s lack of backbone to stand up for others. One of the biggest and silliest arguments I have heard about the issue of language is that anonmynity is too blame. Anonymous people are unstoppable. But, you know, it works both way; if you think anonmynity allows idiots to say what they want then why are people not using the same anonymity top stand up for others. Why does the bully feel protected and they people standing around watching people get victimized not use the same protection. Also, everyon has a user name, and everyone has access to tools to report inflamitoiry language. People are no more anonymous on XBL then they are in life. It not the jerks who are anonymous it is the silent cowards who stand by saying nothing to a bully miles away and who fail to report bad behavior from a person who is identified by name on a screen.

There are only three roles to be played on XBL when it comes to what it is and what is said: perpetrators, victims, and bystanders. But let’s call the bystanders by their real name ‘collaborators’. Turning off your headset is just saying, “Sure people are being victimized but my solution is turning my back.” 

Turning you back turning off the headset isn’t a solution it is collaboration and consent to what occurs.

Sorry to say it, but XBLs problem isn’t the jerks, racists, and bigots. The problem is everyone else that watches and listens and doesn’t speak up. Each members cowardice is a crime and their silence is there own indictment of their own actions.