There might be a lot of executives touting the benefits of 3D gaming these days, but don't expect Electronic Arts' John Riccitiello to join the pep squad anytime soon.
The CEO of the industry's second largest publisher gave his take on the technology in a recent conference call with shareholders - and he was anything but bullish.
"Frankly, we have not seen a big uptake for 3D gaming," he said. "We haven't seen a big uptake for 3D televisions in the home, at least not yet. And we're not here trying to drive the market, we're here to react to what consumers are looking for."
Instead, said Riccitiello, EA customers seem to be much more interested in 2D games, specifically online and social titles — and as a result, that's where the company is putting its money.
"We've seen really high returns here, and very poor returns focusing on 3D. So our allocation of resources have been toward the new innovations that are growing more rapidly," he said.
The comments came on the heels of Nintendo's admission that the 3DS has failed to find any meaningful audience since its launch. The company, last week, announced plans to cut the retail price by nearly one-third, despite the fact that it has only been out for four months.
Those setbacks aren't stopping boosters of 3D gaming, though. nVidia and Viewsonic on Monday announced a new generation of 3D monitors, to ship this August, that will include the graphics company's 3D Vision technology. And Sony, which has been a big booster of 3D games, is moving forward with plans to introduce a PlayStation branded 3D set later this fall. For $499, the company will offer a 24-inch 3D TV that comes with a set of active 3D glasses, an HDMI cable and a copy of Resistance 3.
Of course, just because a publisher, even one as big as EA, is stepping back from 3D, that doesn't mean there's not an audience. A September 2010 survey by Nielsen found that 71 percent of gamers want to play in 3D.
Other game makers, meanwhile, are moving forward with their plans to include 3D in major releases, but they're doing so at an admittedly cautious pace.
"I think it's a good addition to gaming, but I don't think it's a complete revolution," says Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft — which led the industry's modern 3D gaming push with James Cameron's Avatar. "We have to learn how to take advantage of depth with 3D so we can have a different way to do things."