The concept of motion-tracking and its use within the world of console gaming has certainly come into its own, so to speak. The current generation (or past generation, depending on whether or not you’re dead set on getting a PS4 already) provided all the groundwork needed to develop the systems required to usher in a new age of player motion-controlled games. Albeit we’ve yet to see any popular franchises emerge from the number of games out there utilizing motion-tracking; you know, the sort of series that makes everyone want to run out and buy such a system. However, it’s very likely that the PS4 and its new and improved PS4 Eye might very well change all of that and it’s about time.
Why is that, you might be wondering? Well, for starters there’s the technical capabilities of the unit itself, which according to a direct statement from Sony, actually "incorporates two high-sensitive cameras that have wide-angle lenses with 85-degree diagonal angle views". Furthermore, they went on to say that the new design “enables PlayStation 4 Eye to cut out the image of player from background, or to grasp players position in front and behind”. Now, combine this with the face recognition and scanning technology and its pretty clear that we might even begin to see game development trends emerge which allow players to effectively scan their faces and stick them directly onto the bodies of their characters (pure speculation there, of course).
Additionally, the new PS4 Eye will also be tracking the light bar of your DualShock 4 controller. This essentially (among other things) allows the Eye to associate controller light color with specific players, which also opens the door for some unique communication opportunities as well as perhaps even open the door to new and unique gameplay possibilities. Moreover, the camera will apparently work in part with a system which allows gamers to share their gameplay directly so social media sources such as Facebook.
But that’s not all, as expected, the PS4 Eye will also have an onboard microphone system which we’re assuming is to allow gamers to make in-game commands and/or enhance console navigation. Likewise, since the microphone is “directional” (meaning that it can focus on specific areas while essentially muting those sounds not within the assigned area), it’s also likely that one can shout out commands, even in a loud room, without worrying about losing contact (again, some speculation there).
If you really want to see what the PS4 Eye can do, check out this video demonstration on the sonyplaystation YouTube channel. The PlayRoom, as it’s called, provides a veritable hailstorm of onscreen action which then becomes fully interactive (at times) with the players captured by the PS4 Eye. All in all, it can be a pretty wild, yet clean and approachable experience which might even include players drawing 2D items on the touchpad of their DualShock 4 controller and then injecting it onscreen for little animated “bots” to play around with.
In truth, gamers have been waiting for technology to catch up with their imaginations and desires, advanced motion tracking (as well as true Virtual Reality) being among their main desires. For example, just imagine combining a system like the PS4 Eye with that of the Oculus Rift VR technology (wrap-around goggles) and some high-quality headphones. Such a combination would more or less place you directly in the gaming world and with advanced motion tracking like what’s offered via the PS4 Eye, all of your physical movements can be accurately captured and translated into in-game commands without any fear of encountering glitches.
Of course we’re not quite there yet with regards to being able to offer such a commercially integrated system, but we’re getting awfully close now and it’s very likely that the new PS4 camera will help usher in such capabilities (through the standardization of motion-controlled games). Once we begin to see more and more games featuring Sony’s AR system, the true capabilities of the PS4’s Eye will become more apparent.