Are 3D Movie Theaters the Future of Video Games?


The current buzz in cinema is the 3-D technology showcased in James Cameron's science fiction extravaganza Avatar.  The most hyped and bestselling video games of the year are interactive adventures like Batman: Arkham Asylum and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.  Can the future of both movies and games be a merging of the media?  Will audiences in the future flock to theaters to experience three-dimensional, fully immersive games?

It's not such a far-fetched idea. Video games have become much more narratively driven with more cinematic visuals.  It's not hard to imagine the next Batman film including plot points from the current game in which the Joker takes over the Asylum in which he's imprisoned, or a film that follows the Indiana Jones-like adventures of Nathan Drake from Uncharted hunting for the fabled treasure of El Dorado or the lost fleet of Marco Polo.  And motion pictures have already been accused of trying to recapture the feel of video games.  So it's a no-brainer that Hollywood would want to adapt games like Brutal Legend or Assassin's Creed

But film adaptations of video games are nothing new, nor are games based on film franchises.  What I envision is the next step in the evolution -- gamers going to IMAX-screen arenas to play 3-D epics.  Reminiscent of the movie serials of the past, I picture players going for repeat visits to follow a video-game storyline that lasts 20 or 40 or even 100 hours in total. 

Hollywood is hoping that the new 3-D technology is an experience that cannot be fully replicated at home, no matter how advanced consumer's entertainment systems might be.  And the booming video game marketplace has shown that people want to be able to control the action not merely sit back as passive observers. 

Also, multi-player games and online role-playing have set the groundwork for what could be the biggest draw for theatrical video games -- the communal experience.  When people go to a concert or a play or a sports game or a movie, they are sharing that moment with all the others in the audience.  Video gaming, often viewed as a solitary activity (or with only a handful of friends playing along) has proven to be open to hundreds or more gamers interacting at once. 

Actors and writers and directors will still have jobs, but the storylines they create will allow for multiple paths, allowing audiences to make choices.  Movie makers will tell their tales as interactive experiences.  The games of the future will allow participants to jump into fully realized, three-dimensional environments and control their own characters.

Will this be a reality in the near future?  If so, will it be just a fad or a groundbreaking next step in entertainment?  What do you think?

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