3D Gaming on Cellphones

WSJ has an article by Technology Review:

Right now, the first cellphones featuring 3-D graphics are appearing in Japan and Korea. In the coming months, we’ll start to see the first numbers to indicate how well Asian consumers take to the new phones. And starting at the end of this year, we’ll likely see the first 3-D phones hit the U.S.

Three-dimensional games will enter a U.S. cellphone market primed for their arrival, with two main factors driving the desire for more full-featured games. First, hundreds of cellphone game titles are now available from companies such as Sorrent, JamDat and THQ’s wireless division, and the sector is growing fast. Research firm IDC projects the U.S. cellphone game market will grow from $394 million today to $1.7 billion in 2008. Moreover, phones have upped their storage capacities. And color screens, once available only for high-end phones, are now showing up even in inexpensive models.

3-D graphics technology in cellphones will allow games to evolve from the flat, simple facsimiles of popular titles of today to more exact replicas of these games. And with the promise of better, network-ready games comes the prospect of additional revenues for wireless carriers and phone manufacturers. “[Cellular companies] are recognizing that people like games,” says Schelley Olhava, a videogame analyst at IDC.

When we talk about 3-D technology on cellphones, we’re not talking about displays that require funny-looking glasses to appreciate, but rather, the visual style that requires more processing power than today’s cellphone engines provide. And three-dimensional games — first-person shooters such as Doom and Quake, role-playing titles such as The Sims, and flight simulators — have proven their popularity with the public. The cellphone industry is rightfully excited about what 3-D games on phones portend. “The more compelling the game, the more time the user will play them,” says Alex Slawsby, a cellphone analyst with IDC. “If the games have an online component, it means more time spent on data services.”

News.com writes about Samsung’s 3D game phone.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.