Why 3D Won’t Dominate

The marketing departments for movie studios, television manufacturers, and James Cameron are completely committed to making in-home 3D ubiquitous.

I’ve tackled this issue before in my past post, “3D TV Life Color Photography?” Today I’m going to expand on my argument (probably for the last time).

In addition to the glasses being a total pain in the ass, there are some other issues with 3D that have yet to play out.

3D Blindness

According to The Eyecare Trust, as many as 12% of us can’t accurately see 3D:

“3-D technology relies on our eyes’ ability to work together as a co-ordinated team to achieve an accurate perception of depth.

However, more than one in ten of us (12%) has a visual impairment that means our brains are unable to correctly process the individual images that are transmitted to it via our left and right eyes.”

This means that the odds are good that someone in your family can’t enjoy 3D with you.

Eye Strain, Eye Fatigue, & Nausea

Here’s a few paragraphs from the Sony Playstation Terms of Service. It’s actually easy to read, and each paragraph contains a gem:


Some people may experience discomfort (such as eye strain, eye fatigue or nausea) while watching 3D video images or playing stereoscopic 3D games on 3D televisions. If you experience such discomfort, you should immediately discontinue use of your television until the discomfort subsides.

SCEA recommends that all viewers take regular breaks while watching 3D video or playing stereoscopic 3D games. The length and frequency of necessary breaks may vary from person to person. Please take breaks that are long enough to allow any feelings of discomfort to subside. If symptoms persist, consult a doctor.

The vision of young children (especially those under six years old) is still under development. SCEA recommends that you consult your doctor (such as a pediatrician or eye doctor) before allowing young children to watch 3D video images or play stereoscopic 3D games. Adults should supervise young children to ensure they follow the recommendations listed above.

Basically they are saying that you can’t binge consume 3D TV. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but that won’t fly in the good ole US of A.

Diminishing Interest

Avatar sold a lot of 3D tickets. It wasn’t shocking because James Cameron movies always sells tickets, and Avatar was the first 3D movie that “did 3D right.” To expect the same level of interest in 3D to continue is crazy, and as you can see, the interest is dropping.

Graph from Gizmodo

There are a lot of movies coming out this year that will be released in 3D, yet I will choose to see them in 2D because:

  • It costs less
  • My girlfriend gets sick in 3D movies
  • I find watching 3D difficult (why should I work at something that is supposed to be passive?)
  • I see no added benefit

All I ask for from my movies are compelling characters, an interesting plot, and female characters who aren’t hollow (except for my bi-annual trips to see mindless action flicks). Cool effects are a nice bonus, but they don’t magically make bad dialog good, or improve upon a dumb plot.

3D may get rammed down our throats, but I think people will become more resistant to 3D content than the marketers seem to think.

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