It’s hard to predict what the next big trend in consumer technology will be. A few years ago, everyone was convinced it would be home 3D displays. Companies raced to get 3D TVs and monitors into stores so we could all watch Avatar and play 3D games. Even smartphones started to launch with 3D screens. It’s unlikely you have any 3D displays in your home because they were expensive, impractical, and lacking content. Nvidia is finally admitting defeat in 3D — it will end support for 3D Vision after the next driver update in April 2019. That driver will also be the last for Kepler mobile GPUs.
There are several ways to do 3D on the small screen, and that was actually one of the problems. You had to commit to one version of the technology, and getting matching devices and content could be a real hassle. Heaven help you if you wanted to buy a 3D Blu-ray player. What little interest there is in 3D gaming has moved on to VR, but even that has limited consumer appeal.
Nvidia’s approach involved active glasses with 120Hz LCD shutters in each eye. The lenses would sync with the display, flipping on and off to deliver different images. Even with revamped cheaper glasses (about $ 90) and support in several hundred games, interest in 3D just never picked up. So, it the Release 418 drivers this April will be the last with 3D Vision support. After that, your Nvidia GPU won’t know how to interface with the glasses.
Anyone still using 3D Vision will be able to keep running the upcoming drivers for a year, so the glasses will work until April 2020. That’s also the final version with support for the 3DTV Play software that lets you play 3D games on 3D TVs, which have been off the market for about three years. Meanwhile, the 3D Vision Video Player app is available as a standalone download, but it goes away at the end of 2019.
The 418 drivers are also the end of the line for all Kepler mobile GPUs. Laptops with those GPUs shipped in 2012 through 2014, with a few still left in sales channels as recently as 2015. If you’ve got one of these machines, the April update will be your last official driver. If you’re not sure what model GPU is in your laptop, Nvidia has a handy list.