EA Chief Executive John Riccitiello said that 3D gaming doesn’t work commercially at the publisher’s annual stakeholder meeting. The publisher intends to stop pursuing the technology, and instead invest further in social and online gaming.
When asked about 3D gaming by a shareholder at EA’s annual meeting, John Riccitiello said that it has “not seen a big uptake for 3D gaming”. He continued, “we are not here trying to drive a market. We are here to react to what consumers want.”
Riccitiello doesn’t see technology as the limiting factor here, but the low demand for it. He says that EA has “not seen a big uptake in 3D TVs in the home”, suggesting that most game buyers out there simply don’t care enough about 3D to shell out on a new TV for the privilege of gaining that extra dimension.
Sony has placed a big emphasis on 3D in this current console generation, plugging the feature into key PS3-exclusive titles like Gran Turismo 5 and Killzone 3, but Riccitiello’s comments suggest EA doesn't plan to follow suit any time soon. In June 2010, Riccietello spoke out about the potential of 3D, calling it a “truly wonderful thing” in an interview with IndustryGamers, but also commented that it wouldn’t see a big enough user base until 2011 or 2012. Apparently 3D hasn’t yet had the growth spurt it needs.
Nintendo has also seen disappointing results with 3D gaming. Sales of its 3DS console have been lower than expectations, inciting a severe price cut in Japan and the US, announced yesterday. Nintendo will now make a loss on each unit, where it profits from each Wii and DS sale. 3D is backed by figures more convincingly in movies – James Cameron’s 3D extravaganza Avatar is the highest-grossing film of all time – but critics maintain that 3D doesn’t add anything substantial to the movie-watching experience. Is the same true of gaming?
EA’s recent big business announcement was its $1.3 billion purchase of Popcap, a leading casual games publisher. Alongside its previous buy-outs of Playfish and iPhone game publisher Chillingo, this cements its importance in the casual, social and online gaming spaces.