Instagram 3D – a Case for Nintendo 3DS App
This week we bring you an interesting blog post from our guest blogger, Adolph Vega, Founder&Editor in Chief of 3dor2d.com. Enjoy!
Roughly five years ago (2011) Nintendo released the Nintendo 3DS, a portable video game console. The Nintendo 3DS has the capacity to take and view stereoscopic 3D photos and play stereoscopic 3D video games without the need for 3D glasses. Nintendo included a 3D camera to the Nintendo 3DS so anyone could quickly and easily take and view stereoscopic 3D photos and short videos. Some video games for the Nintendo 3DS even allow the player to take stereoscopic 3D game-play photos in game. Roughly six years ago (2010) Instagram came to the scene as an iPhone app (later on Android) that allowed users to easily upload and share photos. The Instagram straightforward nature made the app a huge success within a few months of its initial release. Currently, Instagram is not an available for download for the Nintendo 3DS at the Nintendo e-shop. There is a possibility of accessing Instagram via the Nintendo 3DS built-in web browser, but the experience is far from ideal. I believe this is a huge missed opportunity both for Nintendo and Instagram. It’s a missed opportunity for fans of stereoscopic 3D photography and within this blog post I will discuss the possibility of Instagram for the Nintendo 3DS.
Instagram – a sharing platform for Nintendo 3DS?
Let’s begin with discussing how photography works with the Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo 3DS has a built-in photography application that allows users to apply filters and alter photos. This photography application is on the Nintendo 3DS operating system by default and cannot be deleted. Sadly, the ability to share photos and videos taken on the Nintendo 3DS is tedious and requires several steps that I can’t imagine many people actually doing. The user must turn off the 3DS, take out the SD card, place the SD card in a computer and navigate a dozen or so folders to find a specific photo. Once you find the photo, it’s not easy to upload the stereoscopic 3D version. The stereoscopic 3D photos format that the Nintendo 3DS uses (MPO) is not supported in many if any websites. Nintendo has only recently decided to allow users to upload 3D photos via its social network Miiverse. Miiverse works in a fashion similar to Facebook or Twitter that allows users to post in-game pictures, make discussions and comment with other Nintendo fans. Sadly, Miiverse on the Nintendo 3DS is slow and is not made specifically for sharing of 3D photos. Having the ability to share 3D photos via a potential 3D Instagram application would be a great way for gamers to easily showcase what can be done on the Nintendo 3DS. The Nintendo 3DS allows users to take augmented reality photos with popular Nintendo characters and easily take stereoscopic 3D photos. Having the ability to easily and quickly share these fun photos would have been a fantastic way for self-promotion and easy marketing for the Nintendo 3DS. The Nintendo 3DS is the most affordable and essentially the most used stereoscopic 3D camera on the market. Unfortunately, sharing 3D photography was not part of the Nintendo plan for the machine. Having a community such as Instagram available to share and upload stereoscopic 3D photos would have given the Nintendo 3DS an added value and purpose. Other 3D photographers could have used 3D Instagram with the Nintendo 3DS to display their own content and could have started a thriving 3D photo sharing social network.
Problems in creating Instagram 3D
Two issues hamper sharing of 3D photos on the Nintendo 3DS. Having in mind these two problems, Instagram application dedicated to 3D becomes hard to justify.
First and foremost, the stereoscopic 3D cameras on the Nintendo 3DS are terrible. Stereoscopic 3D photos taken with the Nintendo 3DS have a resolution of 640×480, which is about 0.3 megapixels. As the photos are combined to make a stereoscopic 3D image, the resolution is doubled but the quality of the photo remains pathetic.
Current basic integration of 3D cameras to the Nintendo 3DS is comparable to digital cameras released in the mid 1990’s. I cannot underestimate how meager the quality of the Nintendo 3DS 3D cameras are, especially if you compare them to modern smart-photo digital cameras.
Recently, (2015 in North America and Europe and 2014 in Japan and Australia) Nintendo released the NEW Nintendo 3DS, which is an upgraded faster version of the Nintendo 3DS hardware. Nevertheless, Nintendo kept that same crude 0.3-megapixel 3D cameras and had improved just how it handled low lighting. This is an issue because the low quality of the 3DS photos is dramatically worse than what is expected and seen on Instagram. I can imagine 3D Instagram would look very primitive compared to standard photos on 2D Instagram.
The second issue hampering the Nintendo 3DS is the simple fact that very few games allow taking and saving photos within the game. This ability is not programmed into the 3DS firmware, so only a selection of games have this feature. This is important because having the ability to share in-game content via 3D photos could be a great aspect for the potential 3D Instagram application. Just imagine showing off a special area in a 3DS game that has amazing 3D on 3D Instagram app. This could be an easy way to market Nintendo 3DS games that make good use of stereoscopic 3D visuals. I can imagine many developers using 3D Instagram to showcase upcoming 3DS games and even Nintendo using this service to share stereoscopic 3D photos to advertise upcoming software. However, Nintendo didn’t have the foresight to include this feature in all its 3DS games thus sharing in-game content is impossible for a vast majority of 3DS games. As I mentioned earlier you can save 3D in-game photos via Miiverse, but you cannot save those photos onto your system for later use.
Alternatives to Instagram 3D – 3DWiggle
The Nintendo 3DS is possibly the biggest selling, most accessible 3D camera with millions of units sold. Nintendo missed the golden opportunity to introduce the 3DS not only as a gaming device, but also an entree level 3D camera for the masses. Will Instagram ever make a 3D application for the Nintendo 3DS? It’s doubtful because so few 3rd party applications support the Nintendo 3DS. Even if Instagram releases an application for the Nintendo 3DS, I believe it’s too late to make a significant difference. Nintendo has only recently started to realize that people want to share content they create and experience in video games. 3D Photography could have become a significantly bigger deal, not just a niche market that it is currently. Nintendo partnering up with Instagram would make this possible.
3D Instagram may never happen but some hope exists for sharing stereoscopic 3D photos, which is 3DWiggle. I’m so glad that 3DWiggle exists, so I can share my 3DS photos in 3D easily on social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I can generate wiggling videos or GIFs from my many 3DS photos. The wiggling 3D GIF’s and videos give an impressive illusion of 3D without the need for 3D glasses. The 3DWiggle software is both easy to use and rich with advanced features.
Adolph Vega Founder, Director and Editor-In-Chief of 3DOR2D.COM