Sky: 'Everyone is behind 3D'

Games, TV and hardware industries will drive uptake, says exec

Sky TV last night outlined its vision for 3D, insisting collaboration between the television and games industries plus hardware manufacturers would drive uptake of the new standard, launching later this year.

Speaking at a Sky-sponsored event at BAFTA in central London, Sky Arts channel director John Cassy argued that, unlike the advent of HD there was "no format war" with 3D, with "everyone behind it this time games makers, broadcasters, producers and manufacturers".

Responding to a question from on whether Sky would be targeting gamers as key early adopters of the new technology, Stuart Murphy, director of programming for Sky 1 HD, Sky 1, 2 and 3, hailed the firm's existing relationship with Microsoft with Sky Player available to Xbox users and suggested Sky would be keen on "working super-closely with the games industry", though the broadcaster had "yet to work out" its strategy.

The day-long event featured workshops for the TV industry, including a demonstration by Ubisoft of its 3D Avatar game, based on the record-breaking James Cameron movie.

Hosting the evening panel session, Sky News presenter Martin Stanford called for a "spirit of collaboration" amongst all content creators to help drive 3D. Following a call from Sky executives for 3D content pitches, Stanford added: "Help us make the UK a centre of excellence for 3D production".

The broadcaster, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, also took a swipe at the BBC, with Murphy, former controller of BBC 3, stating: "The BBC chat for 90 percent of the time and do for 10 percent," while Sky did the opposite.

During the presentation, Sky made a series of impressive 3D demonstrations to the audience, including football, rugby, tennis, golf, cricket and athletics from Sky Sports, and a production of Swan Lake by Sky Arts.

Sony is also betting heavily on 3D, with internal studios already working on 3D-enabled software for PlayStation 3, demonstrated at last month's CES in Las Vegas, while its movie division, Sony Pictures, has announced the release of the first 3D Blu-ray movies later this year. 3D support for developers is meanwhile expected to be included in the next PS3 firmware update. Bravia 3D HDTVs are also due this year.

The recent upgrade to HD-ready sets by many consumers is seen in some quarters as a significant obstacle to the adoption of the new 3D standard, but Sky's Cassy remained buoyant, claiming hardware prices were "much lower than I'd imagined".

Sky is scheduled to launch 3DTV to subscribers later this year. The firm said existing Sky HD boxes would be compatible but consumers would need to upgrade to a 3D-supporting television to take advantage.

Murdoch's News Corp. has already invested heavily in 3D, with an estimated $300m spent on Avatar by its 20th Century Fox studio, the investment so far paying off with global box office receipts in excess of an unprecedented $2.3bn as of February 14th.

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Latest comments (12)

Jake9 years ago
I couldn't care less about 3D gaming. Just because one movie is hugely successful doesn't mean it should become the new standard for games. HD didn't help consoles at all and now all you pubs/devs want 3D? Continue your decline and enjoy the red ink your drowning in.
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Saehoon Lee Lead technical artist, Kuno Interactive9 years ago
lots of people still get motion sickness from 3D. I think it is problem we all must solve for 3D to really take off.
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Chris Wallace Studying Games Design, University of Bolton9 years ago
Course he's trolling, he's a student..
Oh wait...
Did I just undermine my entire argument?

Anyway, at the moment, we're doing a study into how 3D affects the way people navigate a first person environment, particularly in judging distance (which hopefully can be used to improve a number of mechanics, particularly jumping.) Should be interesting to see what the use of 3D evolves into, be it just a gimmick, or another way of diversifying the games currently on the market.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Chris Wallace on 16th February 2010 6:34pm

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Show all comments (12)
Tom Cooper QA Technician, Codemasters9 years ago
Companies who NEED 3D are behind it from all the comments Ive been reading over the last few weeks. Those who don't are not putting there eggs in this basket yet.

Gaming needs a killer 3D title before it gets mainstream, GT5 please!
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David Amirian Writer 9 years ago
is this wear-a-visor 3D or wear-glasses-look-at-your-screen 3D?
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Simon Small Studying Bachelor of Multimedia (Games and Interactivity) / Bachelor of Science (Computer Science and Software Engineering), Swinburne University of Technology9 years ago
I would assume it is the same as the 3D technology used in the Avatar game. This means a specially designed TV and 3D glasses to go with it, where the 3D glasses look just like sunglasses.

My experience with it, is that it is a bigger step for TV than SD to HD, but a smaller step than going to colour decades ago.
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Martyn Brown Managing Director, Insight For Hire9 years ago
3D is socially exclusive when playing and for that reason, I just don't get it. Sure, it looks nice enough and no doubt we'll be supporting it in some of our titles going forward (rather than driving forward 3D games directly) but I'm not sure about playing for lengthy periods of time.

HD is much more relevant in terms of fidelity that anyone in the room can enjoy.
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Alex Wright-Manning Senior Recruitment Manager, Splash Damage Ltd9 years ago
The long term medical effects are the biggest worry as far as I'm concerned, and there doesn't appear to be too many serious studies on these long term effects. If anything there is a few negative reports.

Don't get me wrong, I played the Avatar game in 3D, and it was certainly an interesting feature with definite markers for future titles, but let's be honest here; it's in no way the same leap that HD was. The main reason that the film industry is throwing their weight behind 3D is not to offer movie-goers a new and exciting experience, but simply to combat piracy. Piracy is estimated to cost the global film industry $3.5 billion dollars a year, making all your films in 3D will cut a huge swathe out of that figure simply because you can't use a camcorder to record on screen action to burn to illegal DVD's.

Until I see some long term (impartial) studies on medical effects, killer apps that offer a real leap in terms of interactivity and a huge decrease in cost, I'll be sticking with my rather nice 46" HD TV thanks very much.
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Dave Turner Director, PRM London9 years ago
Until affordable TV's that display a 3D image without requiring glasses or other wearable peripherals are available this is not a mas market solution.
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John Welsh Program Manager Defence/Serious Games SME, Sydac9 years ago
Whether it's now or whether it's in 5 years time it will happen. It's simply a choice of early adoption or subsequent mainstream integration. Avatar has provided a flavour of what is possible, delivered superbly and I doubt there are many who would opt for the 2D version over the 3D version. Not one person in the packed cinema I was in threw up afterwards or showed any signs of degraded health (apart from the loud mob at the back but they started that way!!). Cinemas became home cinemas. Cinema 3D will become home 3D.

And then there will be the holograms! Can't wait for those holograms!
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Alex Wright-Manning Senior Recruitment Manager, Splash Damage Ltd9 years ago
John, that's rather a sweeping statement. I don't think that you can speak for the entire packed cinema that you saw Avatar in can you? I heard several people at each of the times i've seen it complain of blurred vision when leaving the theatre. I'm sure that it returned to normal, but this was a two and a half hour movie. Given that the average weekly TV usage sits at around 20-25 hours, there are serious concerns that are yet to be addressed.

Don't get me wrong I'm as big a technophile as you can get (I'll probably even get an iPad, I mean how dumb is that?), but technology companies hang their hats on what they consider to be the next big thing all the time, and 3D just happens to be the latest one. There's been a real dearth of new tech that consumers are getting excited about recently, with really only the iPhone and HD proving a success, and for every new 'big thing', there's a hundred still born (Kindle anyone?).

I've already mentioned the real reason film studios are supporting 3D, simply to combat piracy. Given the HD revolution has only been with us for a few years, and the fact that the economy is in a sorry state, I can't see the general populous parting with their hard earned for technology that is largely untested medically, requires you to wear NHS style specs, is socially exclusive, has a prohibitive cost and is still largely unsupported by broadcast media. We shouldn't be screaming for the future of entertainment purely because we're told it's the future by the TV manufacturers and movie industry, we should be screaming for the future because it makes life better. At the moment 3D just doesn't do that.
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Michael Abraham game designer 8 years ago
perhaps i'm missing something here, but in the current economic climate, is it not perhaps premature to be jumping on the 3D bandwagon?
personally, i'm not that thrilled by what i've seen of 3D. like Martyn said, it's not exactly very social in comparision to other, more mature systems (HD, SD).
maybe if the system can be developed more so you can be anywhere in the room (and preferably not need to wear the goggles) then i can see this taking off a lot better. sure it'll probably sell in the 1st instance, as it's a new thing, but once the novelty has worn off i get the feeling that people aren't going to be screaming for every game in the future to follow suit.
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