Whether or not you believe that Sony planned to bundle the new PlayStation Eye with every PlayStation 4 console, the platform holder hasn’t done a particularly good job of making a compelling argument for the peripheral. You’ll be able to pick up one of the dual-lens units at launch, but while there’s no doubt that the optical extra looks the part, is there really much point in purchasing the optional device alongside the next generation system?
The gizmo is an undeniable improvement over its predecessor. In addition to shedding the dated webcam-esque shape of the PlayStation 3 viewfinder, it’s also packing some serious hardware beneath its slender chassis. It includes two 1280×800 cameras, which can be used for basic depth-sensing and enhanced motion tracking. It also boasts a four-channel microphone array, which may be employed for voice detection in the future.
As such, it’s a huge step forward from the humble 640x480 single-lens limitations of its ancestor, but it’s still far from on par with the Xbox One’s improved Kinect sensor. Microsoft’s option features a 1080p time-of-flight camera and an active IR sensor, allowing it to read heart-rate, facial expressions, and 25 individual joints. Considering the statements attached to the Xbox 360's device, some of that may be exaggerated guff – but the fact is that it’s more capable than the new PlayStation Eye.
The peripheral’s biggest problem, though, is that Sony’s done very little to make the additional purchase seem worthwhile. To our knowledge, only two title’s support the device at the moment: DriveClub and the Playroom. The former uses the camera to take snaps of you, which it then deploys to other players in addition to gameplay challenges. The latter is at least a little more ambitious.
Designed by EyePet creator Nicolas Doucet – who now works out of Sony’s main office in Tokyo – the Playroom was produced as an internal showcase to demonstrate the PS4’s unique features and functions. But following a positive reception at E3, the company is now planning to expand the software prior to the system’s release. The current version – which we got to try out recently – includes various augmented reality demos, in addition to a pretty enjoyable reimagining of Pong, which allows you to manipulate the game space by moving around.
It’s all really fun stuff – but it’s not enough. The platform holder’s played the PS4’s announcement smart by laser-focusing its efforts on core game experiences, but it needs to really demonstrate the value of the new PlayStation Eye if it wants people to actually purchase it. We suspect that the device will be compatible with the console’s party chat and social features at launch, but it will require some compelling software to accompany it.
Fortunately, we’d be surprised if the Japanese giant didn’t have something in the pipeline. It released the EyeToy alongside the minigame compilation EyeToy: Play, and even bundled the PlayStation 3’s camera with the turn-based card game Eye of Judgment at first. But while we suppose that the Playroom does fill that role, we’re hopeful that there’ll be something a little more substantial on the way.
The firm's going to need to reveal it soon, though. We already know that the new PlayStation Eye will be available alongside the PS4 at launch, but with just three months (approximately) until the system assumes its place on store shelves, Sony’s really going to have accelerate its efforts if it wants consumers to take the camera to the checkout alongside the console. The question is: what does it need to show to get the device in your shopping cart?
Will you be buying the new PlayStation Eye alongside your PS4? Are there any types of experience in particular that you’d like to accompany the camera? Let us know in the comments section below.
Will you be purchasing the PS4’s camera at launch? (81 votes)
- Yes, I’m finding the lure of new hardware tough to resist35%
- I want to see more of what it can do first38%
- No, I really don’t see any point in buying the device yet27%
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