GamesBeat

Nvidia unveils its 3D Vision 2 glasses for 3D gaming

Nvidia has created a second generation of stereoscopic 3D glasses known as 3D Vision 2, the company said today. The glasses will be bundled with specially designed monitors to create a much better quality experience for gamers who want to fully immerse themselves in 3D games.

These improved glasses will solve part of the problem of the slow adoption of 3D graphics. With costs as low as $99, Nvidia is removing a lot of the objections people have to stereoscopic 3D. Now the hardware maker needs more game makers to step up and create cool stereoscopic 3D experiences in games.

Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive at Nvidia, plans to make the announcement aboard the historic USS Hornet aircraft carrier, which is permanently anchored in Alameda, Calif. There, Nvidia will be host to hundreds of gamers who will compete in a competition to play Battlefield 3, an upcoming modern combat game from Electronic Arts, in a massive bring-your-own-computer LAN tournament.

The sort of gamers who play in such tournaments are the perfect target for 3D glasses, since the company contends that the glasses will give an unfair advantage to gamers due to the wider field of vision they enable. You can see if someone is sneaking up on you from the side because you will have more peripheral vision in a game, particularly if you use three monitors with the glasses.

I was able to check out the 3D glasses at Nvidia in Santa Clara, Calif., earlier this week. I’ve been a skeptic of most stereoscopic 3D effects, from the Nintendo 3DS handheld to 3D console games on big-screen TVs. But I did like the 3D effects in the theater when I saw James Cameron’s Avatar film, and I liked the original 3D Vision technology. This new 3D Vision 2 technology looks even better. I saw how it looked with the Batman Arkham Asylum game from last year, but I wasn’t able to see it on new games that are compatible, such as Battlefield 3.

One of the reasons for the improvement is that Nvidia has designed the lenses to be 20 percent larger, and they have ridges along the sides that block light from getting into your eyes from the sides or bottoms. I never realized how distracting that light could be until I tried out the new glasses. The glasses are backward compatible with older monitors and 3D emitters. And they are more comfortable.

The new generation of technology incorporates improvements such as having the emitter, which helps produce the 3D effect, directly in the 3D monitor itself so as to lower costs and the hassle of having a separate device attached to your TV, Phil Eisler, general manager of 3D Vision at Nvidia, told VentureBeat.

Nvidia also designed the technology so that it can work with 27-inch PC monitors, which look much more immersive than the 22-inch monitors from the original 3D Vision, which launched two years ago. The monitors are brighter to compensate for the loss of brightness that results when the emitter switches the imagery from one eye to the other. The switching from left to right — which produces the 3D effect — diminishes the light in a scene by half. Nvidia compensates with a brighter picture, and it calls this its 3D LightBoost technology.

Monitor makers are incorporating it into their monitors. Asus will have the first one, dubbed the Asus VG278H, a 27-inch screen bundled with 3D Vision 2 glasses and 3D LightBoost. Other 3DLightBoost monitors will come from Acer and BenQ. Toshiba, meanwhile, will have 3D LightBoost on a 17.3-inch Toshiba Qosmio laptop and a Toshiba Satellite laptop.

The monitors operate at 120 hertz, which means they flash images on the screen at 120 hertz per second. The 3D effect reduces that to 60 times per second, which is fast enough to keep up with the fastest first-person shooter games. The screens are also designed to reduce ghosting, or secondary images that ruin the 3D experience.

“We think we’ve got the world’s best 3D gaming experience,” Eisler said. “It makes you more competitive when you play.”

Eisler said there are now 550 PC games that are 3D Vision ready. There are 100 movies as well, and lots of 3D photos and 3D videos on sites such as YouTube. Full told, Nvidia has sold more than 500,000 3D Vision glasses in the past couple of years. That’s a tiny amount compared to the hundreds of millions of graphics chips the company sells. But it’s a start, and it shows there is a growing community of 3D game fans.

The new wireless 3D Vision 2 kit will sell for $149 with an emitter. The glasses alone sell for $99. The products will be available later this month.


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