Imagine my excitement when I heard the words “free 3D vision” muttered by the CEO of NVIDIA at a recent press conference!?!  After all, in my testing of the active-shutter glasses-based 3D Vision gaming accessory I found the experience to be simply awesome and I urged every user to give this technology a try for themselves, even if it meant hunting down a demo.  And now to get it for FREE??

Unfortunately what NVIDIA was referring to was this:

Computex 2009: NVIDIA gives away 3D Vision, but not really - Graphics Cards 4

Coupled with an image like this:

Computex 2009: NVIDIA gives away 3D Vision, but not really - Graphics Cards 5

NVIDIA is apparently going to be giving away free “anaglyph” style 3D glasses and will offer a new driver that will enable this effect in a host of games.  Let me remind you of what I said about anaglyph style 3D technology in my initial 3D Vision review:

The original “red/blue” method of producing a stereo 3D image is called “anaglyph” and is able to give each eye its own image by superimposing each frame of a video with a different color hue.  The viewer then wears correctly tinted glasses that filter out every other frame so that each is presented with a unique view.  Unfortunately the dramatic tinting of the image is nearly impossible for the brain to remove completely and thus seeing any kind of high quality content in this format was not acceptable.

Soooo…apparently NVIDIA has decided that very few people are going to be willing to pay the $200 for their own active shutter based glasses like 3D Vision PLUS the cost of a new 120 Hz LCD monitor.  Their answer is to revert back to the worst 3D technology that exists, one that they just lambasted during the marketing push that went along with 3D Vision. 

And this isn’t just something I am complaining about because I have already used the 3D Vision hardware extensively.  The fact is I would NEVER watch a movie or play a video game with these glasses on.  And as a game developer, why would I EVER want my customer to experience something I spent millions of dollars and years of time on with ugly-ass red and blue tint all over it?  It’s like someone at NVIDIA found these glasses in a yard sale and decided it was better than throwing them away.  It wasn’t.

NVIDIA showed a few games (Tomb Raider was one, Burnout: Paradise was another) running while supplying the press with those glasses seen above and while yes, it did look like things were coming out of the screen, it looked awful while things were coming out of the screen.

Not only that, but the red lens on the left eye is so dark (for lack of a better term) that it feels like someone is holding a book in front my face. 

Computex 2009: NVIDIA gives away 3D Vision, but not really - Graphics Cards 6
Do I like what I see?  No, actually, I don’t.

I guess if the technology is 100% free, then there is no reason to complain.  Just toss the glasses in the trash or give them to your nephew to watch Spy Kids with.

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