3D gaming impressions on the LG Optimus 3D

Posted by Dan Mousavi On February - 17 - 2011

3D games could be the next big thing in gaming and while gamers are patiently waiting for the Nintendo 3DS, LG is bringing the same technology to smartphones in a big way.
The idea sounds promising, since a lot of people are familiar with the technology after 3D movies took off with the release of Avatar, the 3D hype makes sense.
But the glasses-free technology used in these mobile devices has severe limitations, that make it pretty unattractive when you play a video game.
At any time there are two images visible, one for your right eye and one for the left. If you hold the device in the right distance and orientation, you get a nice 3D effect.

The problem is if you don’t have the right alignment, you will see a very irritating Ghosting effect, that will keep you from enjoying the experience. Since you are playing by pressing on the touch screen or heaven forbid, by using the accelerometer, the 3D effect is not worth the ghosting. I am pretty sure some will disagree, because they can ignore that they are playing in a fixed position which gets uncomortable over time and don’t mind the occasional double image, but I don’t think that these first generation 3D devices deliver the gaming environment, that gamers need to immerse themselves into the game.

For example in Nova, a first person shooter, I fought some enemies and when I lost alignment I mistook the popped up ghosting of my on screen weapon for an enemy and was immediately frustrated. When I deactivated the 3D effect I was impressed with the performance of the device and would have loved to continue playing it this way and that’s exactly what I thought on all games, that required real time gameplay.

The only game that was really nice in 3D was Everybody’s Golf 2, since you are planning out your shot and after that you can just hold the device and pray to whatever you believe in for a Hole in one.

Outside of the games the phone itself has a 3D button, where usually the camera button is on phones, which brings up a 3D menu if you hold it down.
This menu is pretty slick with nice “in your face” animations all over the place and inside menues, the occasional ghosting doesn’t bother me too much as long as the text is displayed clearly.

We will see if gamers will like the parallax 3D effect, or if they will just buy the phone for it’s raw power, because it is the fastest phone that was shown at MWC. It is roughly twice as powerful as the Galaxy S and should be on par with any Tegra 2 device with lower power consumption and in my humble opinion that are specs, that will really make the phone shine and will make the 3D more of a gimmick, that is nice to have for short 3D Youtube Videos. Anandtech did a benchmark, take a look:

On another stand Qualcomm showed off their Deep Sea UI, which was pretty impressive, this is not yet on LG Optimus, but it looks really nice, here’s a video, which of course doesn’t deliver the 3D effect, since my camera is essentially a single eye (which is why I didn’t bother to film the Gameloft Games for you, because you already know them in 2D).