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How close are we to holographic gaming?


Challenges Facing 3-D and Holograms
When deceased rapper Tupac Shakur appeared alongside Snoop Dogg at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, the Internet exploded with hologram talk, but the magic was actually courtesy of an old theatrical trick called "Pepper's Ghost."
When deceased rapper Tupac Shakur appeared alongside Snoop Dogg at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, the Internet exploded with hologram talk, but the magic was actually courtesy of an old theatrical trick called "Pepper's Ghost."
© Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Stereoscopic 3-D creates depth in an image by presenting two different perspectives to the brain. Each eye sees an object from slightly different angles, creating a 3-D effect. While some movies are digitally converted to 3-D, they're ideally filmed from two different perspectives to create a true 3-D effect. Similarly, game developers working in 3-D have to deliver different images to each eye, which is much more taxing for video game consoles and computers. The solution, so far, has been to lower the resolution of the image delivered to each eye.

So what does this have to do with holograms? Well, think of it this way: If game developers are already struggling to deliver 3-D images to each eye and keep visual quality high, how much more difficult will it be to project images, aka holograms, into the environment surrounding gamers? Making movies in three full dimensions, rather than the two separate angles required for stereoscopic 3-D, would be an even greater challenge for moviemakers.

Another problem: For holograms to become a reality, people need to own the hardware to support them. While 3DTV sales are slowly rising, TV sales in general shrank in 2012 [source: BGR]. 3-D hasn't proven to be a huge seller for the industry because it's more expensive, and some people don't care about watching movies or gaming in 3-D at all. So how many people will truly be interested in buying holographic technology?

Well, 3-D has been around in some form for decades. Though today's 3-D technology is better than ever, it's still not revolutionary or exciting. But we'd all love to experience the holodeck, which is why some big companies -- including Microsoft and Apple -- have patented some cool holographic concepts.


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