3DS: Watch out Hollywood

Opinion: Andy Robinson says Tinseltown, Sky and Samsung should take note...

Little over a year ago, a modest film called Avatar put many zeros on the end of the all-time grossing movie record. We've all been obsessed with 3D ever since.

Such is our passion for entertainment poking out of a screen, cinema content creators virtually can't get an action movie green-lit in 2011 without a requirement for those magic plastic glasses (unless they're Christopher Nolan, that is).


In the home, sales of 3DTV are expected to hit 91 million by 2014. Sony has even claimed demand will increase so fast that adoption of 3DTVs will exceed that of standard HDTVs, mainly thanks to 3D games and Sky's 3D service.

The public demand for 3D is sky-rocketing - even Jackass 3D broke Box Office records - and exists despite the fact that, domestically and practically, it's currently pretty darn inaccessible.

3D cinema has always struggled with the 'glasses problem', whilst the sheer expense of 3DTV - plus the fact many average punters have only recently splashed out on an HD telly - will hamper the growth of adoption rates.

But there's something Hollywood, electronics giants and Sky haven't planned for: in March, barriers to the 3D experience are going to come crashing down - and there are no accessories required.

The Nintendo 3DS, which can display impressive 3D images without the need for headwear (I know - I've seen it), could bring the accessibility factor that the 3D boon has been sorely lacking since James Cameron planted an extra dimension in our minds.

The DS, with more than 135 million units sold, is already the most mainstream console in the world. Add to that the exciting and practical capabilities of the 3DS and I can easily see how everyone could soon be consuming their 3D content through Nintendo's device.


I count myself as one of the early adopters, but surely 3DTV's installed base will be comfortably surpassed by 3DS soon after its March launch date. And when the 3DS movie range starts hitting the shelves, the Nintendo handheld's playback functionality might just trump the big boys.

Confronted with the public's conundrum of paying less than £20 for a copy of Toy Story 3 3D for my handheld or looking to join the £1,000 loan club for a 3DTV, I'd take number two, thanks.

And playing 3D content on my 3DS makes sense for another key reason: 3D content is fun and screams to be shared. On Nintendo's little red (or black) wonder I'll be able to show the whole family the depth of Avatar's Pandora (and then mischievously slide the trees and characters up and down like a slider-shifting magician).

Then there's pester power. There's no question that little ones adore the experience of seeing the latest Pixar or Dreamworks flicks in the third dimension (all but one of the currently released 3D Blu-rays are rated PG or below).


I reckon both they - and their parents, looking to keep the rugrats quiet in the back of the car - will jump and the chance for some portable 3D Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.

As cinemas and electronics companies scramble to keep up with Nintendo's impressive innovation, the 3DS has the potential to be nothing short of a handheld revolution - not just for gaming, but for films, television and other mainstream 3D content.

Maybe it's about time the record breakers in Hollywood started shifting their gaze from the big screen to small.

Nintendo's smarter, more affordable approach has already left gaming's horsepower kings licking their wounds; now Hollywood's biggest tech partners could be set to learn a similar lesson.