With the upgraded, next-generation PlayStation 4 came another upgraded piece of technology – the PlayStation camera. It was made to work similar to both the PlayStation Eye for the PS3, and the Xbox Kinect. While it’s not a required accessory for most of the console’s functions, there are some cool things you can’t do without it.
Streaming gameplay to sites such as YouTube and Twitch has been growing in popularity over the past few years, and the PS4 is able to send your game out live already. By adding the PS camera, you can add a corner face cam to streams, without having to run the stream through another source, such as a capture card.
Using the Playroom app, you can record videos up to fifteen minutes long, using the camera. This is helpful if you record vlogs, personal videos, or skits and short films. From there, these videos can be uploaded immediately using the PS4’s share system, or they can be transferred to another device for editing.
The camera functions very similarly to the PlayStation Eye, where it can track the light from your DualShock controller and pick up information from that. Through this, if you regularly sign in as first player, you can tell your console to recognize your face. It will look at whoever is holding the player one controller, and if it's you, it’ll sign you in automatically.
Admittedly, you can do this with any microphone that works with the PlayStation 4, but if you’re already using the camera, then using the built-in microphone would just be easier. There are certain games, such as FIFA, that are compatible with voice commands, and you can get a greater game experience using them.
There are four microphones within the camera that are capable of minimizing background noise when you’re talking. They focus on you or whoever else you’re with while you speak and block out the dimmer background sounds, which cuts out a lot of unwanted sounds from a video or audio recording. Not to mention that, with the microphone built in, you don’t have to worry about cords getting tangled up or dealing with a bulky headset.
Within the Playroom are a few AR games that utilize the camera and its knowledge of the controller’s position. These games make it appear as if something new is happening in your living room, or in the case of one of these games, in your controller. This system is similar to the one used by the 3DS, except it doesn’t require a card that can easily be lost.
Similar to the Xbox and PS3, the PS4 has games that require a PlayStation camera, such as Just Dance. Other games, such as Surgeon Simulator and Until Dawn may not require it, but are enhanced by having a camera. The camera is nice to have for the full gaming experience.
The PlayStation camera is designed with two actual cameras within it, each of which can operate independent of each other. So while one is focusing on picking up a good-quality image, the other is focused on tracking your motion, and that of the DualShock controller. Combined, it makes for a pretty good video quality.
By using the facial recognition and voice command software, you can essentially go through the home menu without touching the controller. The system will sign you in automatically with facial recognition, and you can open apps and start a game using voice commands. You don’t need to use the controller for very much outside of actually playing games.
While this feature is still in development, it is one that has been promised to show up, and should prove to be worth the wait. Due to the fact that the PlayStation camera is a dual-camera system, it has the possibility of each camera recording a slightly different video, or taking two slightly different photos, and melding them together to form a 3D image. Similar to the 3DS, except without the slider to turn the 3D effect on and off.