Games--not film--will be the catalyst for the mass adoption of glasses-free 3D technology, says film icon James Cameron.
Cameron--who directed Avatar, the most popular film of all time--recently spoke at the NAB 2011 Show in Las Vegas and said technology like Nintendo's 3DS will help drive sales of 3D displays.
"Video games are going to help propel the autostereoscopic (glasses free) play because that's going to be the entry level for most people," Cameron told Yahoo! gaming blog Plugged In. "These single-viewing devices that are engaging the person to play these video games will drive a lot of investment in autostereoscopic displays for that very reason. That technology will trickle up to the larger 3D displays that will be used for home viewing and gaming."
Cameron said he does not expect glasses-free 3D viewing technology to come to theaters in his lifetime, but he does expect the technology to arrive for in-home viewing, as he sees it as a necessity.
"One of the big barriers to 3D right now is that you have to wear glasses in the home," Cameron said. "Home viewing is very different than movie theater viewing. I don't think we'll ever get rid of the glasses in movie theaters. Not in my lifetime, anyway, but we're going to get rid of them at home because it's a different viewing model type. You're distracted at home. You're doing other things. You're pausing a game or a movie and going to get pizza or whatever it is. It's not the same very dedicated sort of consciousness that you have in a movie theater, so getting rid of the glasses will be a big deal."
Cameron and his special effects studio partnered with Ubisoft to ship James Cameron's Avatar: The Game in 2009. The game was not highly praised, but it did sell almost 3 million units. Looking ahead, Cameron said a 3D-enabled Avatar massively multiplayer online role-playing game is a possibility.
"I'd love to do an MMORPG experience inside the Avatar universe, and I would like to see it authored in 3D," said Cameron. "I'd like to see people doing gameplay in 3D, so that's something that we're looking to do. But we're not active on that yet."
Nintendo's recently released 3DS--which does not require glasses--has sold 3.6 million units worldwide since it debuted in Japan in February. The Wii successor--which Nintendo recently made official--will offer "something new," but it likely will not be 3D, as it would require glasses, and Nintendo has said "goggle-type 3D technology was not going to work."