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Using 3D technology is "nothing new", says Rein

Epic's vice president says stereoscopic games face a barrier due to the requirement of expensive hardware

Epic Games' vice president, Mark Rein, has told GamesIndustry.biz that Ubisoft's move to develop games with stereoscopic 3D technology - or S-3D - is "nothing new", and that for people to think of it so is "dumb".

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Rein revealed that his company had already been working with the technology for tenyears, that the Unreal Engine 3 already supported S-3D technology but that he didn't expect it to gain widespread acceptance - saying the need to buy a new screen was too high a barrier to entry.

"I have a 3D monitor sitting in my office and stereoscopic has worked on Unreal for a long time. In fact one of the guys pushing stereoscopic sent me the monitor, he said 'Your games are great on these monitors,' so he sent me one."

"So Unreal works fine on stereoscopic, it's just you've got to change out your screens to use it - that's a big accessory," Rein explained.

Ubisoft is already exploring the possibilities of S-3D technology with the release next year of Avatar, the game based on the stereoscopic James Cameron movie, and Microsoft's Chris Satchell recently told GamesIndustry.biz that the company had experimented with similar tech but was put off by the need for consumers to wear special headgear or glasses.

During an exclusive interview published today, Rein also discussed the forthcoming release of Gears of War 2 for the Xbox 360, commenting that he doesn't see individual games as system sellers, and that it's wrong to assume a title can shift console hardware on its own.

"I think when you get to this part of the life cycle of the console systems, every game helps sells the consoles. So it's hard to say 'Oh it's that one game,'" he offered.

"Plus I also think that for months before a game ships the guys that have really latched onto that game as the reason they're buying the console are probably going to buy the console early and get a game or two.

While many expected the recent release of Grand Theft Auto IV to help both Sony and Microsoft shift consoles, in reality it only helped sell a small amount, far less than was expected by format holders and analysts.

"I think it's a little difficult to always identify that any one game made a spike in console sales or not," added Rein.

"Having a great library of games, that's what helps consoles sell. If there's a great game that's coming out, you're probably not going to wait till the day the game comes out to buy the console, because once you've made that emotional decision to spend the money you're probably going to start buying titles."

GamesIndustry.biz's full interview with Mark Rein can now be read here.

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