ComicCon 2011: Lots of Excitement, But Not Much 3D

Frequent readers of the Semico Spin know that I am a fan of ComicCon and attend it in San Diego during my family vacation. This is the eighth year in a row we have attended. And as I say every year, there were more nerds than you can shake a light saber at.

For those unfamiliar with ComicCon, it is the largest convention for comic books in the world. Science fiction and fantasy TV and movies are also heavily represented. These are usually tied in with comics and animation, and there is a strong tie-in with video games. For the fourth straight year, ComicCon was sold out for all four days, with attendance of 125,000 each day. It is the largest convention throughout the year for the city of San Diego.

The show began 43 years ago as a small sci-fi fan convention focused on comics and literature. It has ballooned into a huge media event attracting TV and movie producers looking to promote their work. These productions usually have a tie-in with comics and sci-fi, but ComicCon has expanded to pull in other pop culture media.

Content is king! Without enough material, there is little incentive to buy the hardware. What consumers want to see and how they want to interact with it drives the development of the electronics. It is not surprising that many attendees are technically savvy early adopters.

At ComicCon, one sees the rich source material for new entertainment. This is very important for the video game market. The fans of the sci-fi/comic genre, who represent a key segment of the video game market, want cutting-edge graphics and special effects. ComicCon is a venue for previewing many upcoming games for the holiday season.

Many new games were being demoed for all of the video consoles, along with the handheld and PC platforms. These have ever-increasing levels of graphics, explosions, and interaction. Several panels let attendees listen to and ask questions of the game developers.

The gaming has outgrown the convention center. There were demos in the exhibit hall, but many companies had larger off-site showcases. {complink 10098|Nintendo of America Inc.} and {complink 3426|Microsoft Corp.} used these venues to show off the latest games for the Wii and Kinect. These drew large crowds.

It was perplexing that {complink 5114|Sony Corp.} had no alternate venue outside the convention center. In fact, the only games being demoed for Sony were for the PlayStation 3. There were no demos for PlayStation 3 Move, the motion-sensing technology Sony showed off at last year’s ComicCon. This does not look promising, considering the audience at ComicCon wants to see what will be available during the holiday season.

The PC gaming area was smaller than it had been in prior years. And there were no contests or other types of participatory activity this time. The real action was off site.

As there was last year, there were a few 3D gaming demos, but nothing for 3D TV. Sony, a major exhibitor at ComicCon, can tap into its broad product spectrum from movies and TV content to consumer electronics. It appears there is little marketing effort for 3D TV. There is not enough content yet, and I do not expect a big push for it this holiday season.

How will comics fare in a changing world? This industry is still producing print content while presenting futuristic themes. Longtime comic book writers featured on one panel admitted they will be going digital. A vision of this future was on display at the DC Comics booth, where the company was showing off its comics on iPads.

ComicCon International is a whirlwind of activity. It can be an overwhelming flood of visual and audio stimuli. One sees Harry Potter reading a Kindle, a Star Wars stormtrooper checking the schedule on his iPhone, and attendees Tweeting or posting to Facebook to win a prize. I find this event provides insight into how our popular activities and electronics become intertwined.

14 comments on “ComicCon 2011: Lots of Excitement, But Not Much 3D

  1. Tim Votapka
    July 29, 2011

    Don't forget the affordability of all of this. Manufacturers have done well tapping into technology and processes that make the gaming market as active as it is among consumers.

  2. Mr. Roques
    July 29, 2011

    So Sony was the big loser in all of this? … Who was the big winner?

  3. AnalyzeThis
    July 29, 2011

    @Mr. Roques, When it comes to 3D, I don't think there are any winners. I think the quote in the article sums things up fairly well:

    As there was last year, there were a few 3D gaming demos, but nothing for 3D TV. Sony, a major exhibitor at ComicCon, can tap into its broad product spectrum from movies and TV content to consumer electronics. It appears there is little marketing effort for 3D TV. There is not enough content yet, and I do not expect a big push for it this holiday season.

    Little buzz, not much marketing, not enough content, no plans for a holiday push… I think it's safe to say that the future of consumer 3D  is not looking very bright!

    3D is a gimmick that works alright in theaters, but in the home there is very little demand and the technology simply isn't that compelling. I think it's clear that many companies have already given up on trying to push 3D into the living room.

    So again, I don't think there are any winners: the early-adopter consumers who foolishly bought 3DTV's won't get their money out of the premium they paid for 3D features, R&D wasted time and money, makers of commercial 3D cameras may not see the increase in sales they hoped for, etc.

    I think we'll continue to see 3D movies, but interest in the consumer market will dry out. 3D is not the same as HDTV, HDTV was a clear upgrade over regular TV and worth paying to upgrade to. 3D is not.

  4. Clairvoyant
    July 29, 2011

    It seems like there used to be a lot of excitement over 3D and it being the 'next big thing'. However once it started being an options on new TV's, etc, it seems that it is not so big and great as once thought.

  5. SunitaT
    July 30, 2011

    “It appears there is little marketing effort for 3D TV.”


     Why do you think there is little marketing effort ? Is it because there is lack of buying interest from the customers or any other reason?

  6. SunitaT
    July 30, 2011


     I think sony has still chance to come back because as Tony said Sony can still tap into its broad product spectrum from movies and TV content to consumer electronics.

  7. Anna Young
    July 31, 2011

    I agree DennisQ with your comment that consumer's interests in 3D is low, but has generate more interest at the cinemas. I think this due to a combination of various factors. Recession is one, and consumer's loss of confidence in 3D is another. what's the point in investing in a product when there is clear alternative.HDTV will always be a clear option anyway.

    It's no surprise as reflected in Tony's article that there was no demo or nothing for 3DTV at the ComicCon 2011.






  8. Ms. Daisy
    July 31, 2011

    Despite Sony's broad spectrum of products, this is either a missed opportunity or lack of innovation to compete with the other big guys.

  9. Himanshugupta
    July 31, 2011

    @ Anna, also the content is hot huge for 3D. For HD, content has been coming so it is becoming popular. As for 3D movies, the trend is that the movie goers pay more only when they see any advantage such as thrilling experience. I think 3D still has to come a long way before getting popularity.

  10. Taimoor Zubar
    July 31, 2011

    I love Comic-Con and follow it each year. I hope one day I'll be able to attend it live 🙂

    As far as 3D technology in gaming is concerned, I think it's an area with huge potential and much larger than HD or any other technology. One of the reasons why this is not so popular is because manufacturers have not really attempted to introduce this to the world on a large scale. May be they don't consider the technology to be complete and ready to sell on a mass scale. I have a feeling that once 3D gaming is out on a commercial basis and on a large scale, it will revolutionize gaming.

  11. Anna Young
    July 31, 2011

    Himanshugupta, you're absolutely right – I also think 3D like you said will become popular and a common household item in some time to come.





  12. electronics862
    July 31, 2011

    3D technolog will have great market value in the coming years as it covers gaming, entertainment areas which will high demand in the market.

  13. Mr. Roques
    August 30, 2011

    Well, I think there's still some R&D to do. First: create 3D TVs that don't need special glasses. And after that, lower overall costs.

    But I think there's room for 3D technology in our living rooms.

  14. Mr. Roques
    September 6, 2011

    That's true, Sony has a broad range of products although they can “easily” shut down one of its branches if it stays behind.

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