3D Imaging Technologies Generate Higher Margins for Entertainment Industry

Images courtesy of http://deminvest.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/nvidia.jpg

The growing consumption of digital content has propelled a new economic trend in the entertainment industry. The average Joe living in a developed economy will spend the majority of the day in front of the computer, television, or other digital display. Increase in accessibility and proliferation of digital media has created strong consumer demands for quality entertainment, which in turn, has skyrocketed production costs for all media content from games to movies. Large production costs put a pressure on profitability, but one major area of innovation that is generating better margins for the entertainment industry is 3D imaging.

This new wave of 3D imaging technology adds another dimension of value to future digital media because consumers are willing to pay more for an enhanced experience, yet the technology curbs production costs for manufacturers and publishers.

156 million people have smartphones, and 184 million laptops were shipped in 2008. Consumers’ digital media obsession now drives the innovative development of software and hardware that create increasingly immersive entertainment and digital media experiences.

The large amount of investment required to offer more engaging 2D entertainment experiences is putting profitability under pressure. The total production cost for Grand Theft Auto IV was $100,000,000 – currently the biggest budget spent on any video game. The majority of production costs for 2D games were allocated by manufactures and publishers for creating more sophisticated graphic interfaces and higher resolution content. However, 3D imaging works on relatively simple technologies and do not require as extensive of production budgets, provided that the display screen’s image refresh rate is high.

For example, NVIDIA, in partnership with Samsung, now offers the GeForce 3D vision system for gaming applications. The system requires a minimum of 120Hz and shutter glasses in order to reconstruct the illusion of real 3D images, which are created by playing two different images, each representing the two perspectives of the same object to each eye. Though normal 2D screens project frames six times slower than 3D films, the GeForce system plays the two-scene views, called “right eye” and left eye,” three times every 1/24 of a second. The result is 3D flicker-free images created by the eye’s natural persistence of vision.

These innovations in imaging technology create augmented realities that link images and real objects, and add the perception of interaction for viewers, and consumers are willing to pay more to experience this novel form of digital media. For instance, IMAX movies are priced five dollars above the average price of a standard 2D theater admission.

Companies like amBX UK Ltd, a technology licensing business, are creating elaborate, “sensory surround” entertainment with modest technologies that enable content creators to add real world effects using light, color, rumble and air flow, through licensed amBX devices. These innovative but relatively inexpensive additions to digital media revalues entertainment experiences and allows producers to maintain lower production cost while driving higher revenues.

Consumers are demanding increasingly immersive entertainment. What will the introduction of 3D imaging mean for gaming? Will these emerging technologies create new experiences so gamers can feel like they are walking through the battle fields of Modern Warfare 2? As companies such as amBX and NVIDIA continue to develop hardware that brings 3D gaming to the living room, the future for console gaming looks bright as long as publishers continue to put premium prices on the technologies. If this trend continues, the gaming industry will have no problem retaining its position as the highest grossing entertainment industry in the world.

geoDefense Swarm…Swarming the App Store!

Wow, what a couple of days for David Whatley of Critical Thought Games.

Earlier this year, Whatley launched geoDefense, a retro-styled tower defense game for the iPhone. Due to its brilliantly challenging level design, unassailable game balance, and long-lasting gameplay, geoDefense established a dedicating following and achieved sleeper hit status. His follow-up, geoDefense Swarm, is anything but a sleeper:

As of 11 AM on Thursday the 17th – not three days since it launched – Swarm is sitting pretty at #7 in Top Paid Apps in the US App Store, and #4 in All Games. What does that look like in comparison to the original? Well, here’s a handy chart David just posted on his blog:

Both games are excellent – the early consensus seems to indicate that both Swarm and the original stand on their own as equally excellent titles. So what’s the difference?

It’s critical mass. Swarm had a tidal wave of well-deserved hype and anticipation that created a massive crowd of day-one customers: the engine behind Swarm‘s explosive out-of-the-gate showing.

The original geoDefense launched like most indie games: with little fanfare, few to no previews and a slow trickle of reviews. It was a phenomenal game – it achieved a very respectable level of success entirely on its own merits, and then really took off once a series of glowing reviews gave it a substantial bump.

Swarm, on the other hand, has a built-in audience of dedicated geoDefense fans ready to buy on day one – as long as they knew it was coming. Thanks to an extensive preview campaign, ongoing interaction with the community, and calculated launch publicity, those folks definitely knew it was coming!

This level of success in the App Store depends on hitting the sweet spot ‘above the fold’ – that is, in the Top Paid Apps list. Once you’re there, if you’ve developed a great game, you’re  golden. And while there’s no secret formula for getting there, it’s irrefutable that carrying out a deliberate publicity push surrounding your game’s launch – previews shortly before, and reviews immediately at launch – is one of the most important things you can do to prepare that critical mass of buyers to push you above the fold.

Congrats to David on an excellent launch, and an even more excellent game. Go buy it! iTunes Link

Take It Out Your Pocket and Show It: Pocket God’s a Hit on the iPhone

Show it Off
Show it Off

The poet T-Pain once said: “Got money, and you know it, take it out your pocket and show it.”

While Pain was certainly referring to a roll of cash, little did he know that he also had created the perfect metaphor for the viral, word-of-mouth buzz that drives iPhone app sales.

In a recent story on the FinancialTimes.com tech writer Chris Nuttall explored some of the reasons for the resounding success of Pocket God on the iPhone. With sales now well over 1.2 million units, Pocket God is a true blockbuster hit on the nascent platform.

Continue reading Take It Out Your Pocket and Show It: Pocket God’s a Hit on the iPhone

Softkinetic’s Gesture Recognition Interface Featured on KRON 4 Bay Area News

Gabriel Slate of, The Tech Report with Gabriel Slate came to TriplePoint’s Union Square office to check out Softkinetic’s revolutionary gesture recognition interface technology. This product, produced through a partnership with France Telecom’s IPTV provider, Orange TV, is a seamless, gesture-based interface that allows television viewers to manage their TV and web content without complicated external remotes. With this technology users can browse channels, adjust volume, browse the internet, play games, interact with friends and much more – all with simple hand gestures. Look for this technology to hit the market in early 2010. For more information visit: www.softkinetic.net