We’ve seen a lot of 3D technology come and go as the idea of 3D screens – once a popular feature of TVs and media players – has fallen out of style. While we haven’t seen a new 3D TV in years, Samsung has announced a new 2D/3D gaming monitor at CES 2024, which promises crisp 3D images and VR experiences without glasses.
Gaming is an extremely good use of 3D technology, offering the kind of immersive experience that can really benefit from the visceral feeling of being in the middle of the action. However, we haven’t seen games make moves in the 3D space lately: the Nintendo 3DS, released in 2011, was a gaming handheld with a glasses-free 3D effect, but it required you to hold the 3DS in a precise location to see 3D. The console was popular but quickly released in a 2D version and was finally discontinued in 2020. 3D hasn’t made a significant resurgence in gaming since.
But is now the time? The Samsung 2D/3D Gaming Monitor has the advantage of a decade’s worth of technological advancement over the 3DS. This monitor uses eye and head tracking to analyze your position and gaze in real time, thus optimizing the lenticular 3D illusion it produces. It’s not new technology, though adding eye tracking to the mix makes the 3D effect nearly flawless. Still, looking away from the screen can confuse the display, and no one will be able to look over your shoulder and have the same 3D experience because the screen is tailoring the display for your eyes only.
And Samsung has added VR to the mix. VR games typically require bulky headsets to work, and those headsets can range in price from $300 to $1500. Samsung’s new monitor allows you to play VR games in 3D without any extra accessories, and even though we don't have a price for it, that will make for a very streamlined VR experience. The system supports Steam VR, and Samsung is looking for additional gaming partners to bring even more content to the device. Combining a 3D display with eye-tracking tracking to mimic a VR experience without a headset could make for a fantastic gaming experience – assuming it works smoothly.
Acer has been experimenting with glasses-free 3D SpacialLabs monitors that use similar eye-tracking technology to create 3D effects, but they haven’t really hit the mainstream. The company just announced a 3D monitor and laptop specifically targeting gaming, though neither offers the VR features the Samsung 2D/3D Gaming Monitor has.
It’s a technology with a lot of promise, but we still don’t have a lot of details on Samsung’s latest monitor, like size, resolution, or refresh rate. If it’s a great 3D display but doesn’t have the specs for great 2D gaming, the monitor will be a hard sell. Samsung promises more details on the product later this year, and we look forward to seeing if the product pans out. But if you need a good gaming monitor right now, you might consider Samsung’s latest Odyssey OLED 4K UHD glare-free monitors, which have vibrant colors, a 240Hz refresh rate, and AMD FreeSync Premium Pro for smooth gaming – those screens are due out this year.
[Image credit: Samsung]