Is the PlayStation Eye Required for PS4, and what is it used for?

Video games are often associated with a certain type of individual and even more so with a certain body type. This stereotype has become less prevalent in recent memory, but when I was a kid my parents constantly told me to get up off my butt and go outside. It didn’t help that my brothers were both sports fanatics with active lifestyles and short attention spans. Every day was another battle of wits. I would want to sit on my butt, holding a controller, and spend the entire day playing video games. A simple desire, interrupted only by my mortal need for sustenance and to relieve my bladder.

This type of behavior was often seen as lazy, and I was told that I needed more exercise and sunlight. There was plenty of time for those things though. I was young and my metabolism was lightning fast. Why couldn’t I just sit around and play my damn video games in peace? Despite this constant struggle, I eventually won out, and my sports oriented brothers even jumped on the bandwagon eventually.

This last generation saw a transition though, and the responsible party was a little white box whose name rhymes with Wii. Yes, the Nintendo Wii ushered in a new age of motion controlled gaming. Thousands of copycat fitness titles leapt at the opportunity to provide yet another fitness game for the stereotypical lazy gamer. I’ll have you know that we gamers are productive bunch. I’m writing this article after all!

What many people don’t realize is that this idea of motion controlled gaming started on the PS2 with the EyeToy camera. Sure it didn’t work well, but it was the Kinect and the Wii before either of those things were even a twinkle in their father’s eyes. Semantics aside, motion gaming, and more importantly, motion sensing cameras were big this generation. Now we have the PS4 and the Xbox One. With the Xbox, you have to have the Kinect, and it’s conveniently included, to ensure that people will actually use it this time.

Is the PlayStation Eye Required for PS4, and what is it used for? So what about PS4? They had a camera this generation, though it was mostly useless without the Move which didn’t have anywhere near enough support. Yes, the PS4 has a new camera, and no, you don’t have to use it. You should get one though, and I’ll tell you why.

A Better, More Immersive Experience
The PlayStation 4 eye camera is like the Charizard to the PS3 eye’s Charmander. To those of you who don’t play Pokemon, that’s a big evolutionary jump. Let’s start with raw numbers. The PS3 eye camera was a single lens running at a resolution of 640 x 480. That’s low, really low by today’s standards.

The PS4 eye camera is sporting not one, but two cameras in it’s structure, both of which are running at a resolution of 1280 x 800. Bigger numbers are always better when it comes to resolution, so the PS4 camera is already double the size and almost double the resolution. So what do these camera’s do? Excellent question dear reader, I love how you’re always on point. This nifty camera can utilize its two lenses to recognize a three dimensional space. It can see the size of your living room and it can pinpoint exactly where you are within it.

These cameras can do even more than that though. The resolution is high enough now where the camera can recognize your face and by scanning it can log you in to your PS4 profile or even recognize when you’re talking during games. That reminds me, did I mention it can also hear you?

This thing isn’t Skynet, right?
I sincerely hope not, I still want to see what Uncharted and God of War look like on PS4, so this had better not become sentient and take over the world. Even if it does though, it will be able to hear our cries of agony perfectly. You see, the PS4 eye camera also has four directional microphones built into it. These microphones can pick up voices from anywhere in the room and recognize where it originated from.

So where do all these features lead us to? Well, the PS4 eye camera is going to allow you to more intuitively interact with your PS4. With this accessory, the system will be able to hear you, see you, and react to your commands. In an interview with Polygon, a Sony spokesperson confirmed that the PS4 will recognize voice commands:

"Sony Computer Entertainment can confirm that PlayStation Camera allows for voice recognition and we will look forward to sharing more details in the lead up to the launch of PlayStation 4.”

Mysterious indeed, but an excellent feature to have. Some other features that have been confirmed, beyond the facial scanning, and voice commands, is the ability of the camera to recognize the DualShock 4’s lightbar and differentiate between players. This means that if people switch their seating during a multiplayer match, their portion of the screen moves with them.

If you’re a PlayStation Move owner like myself, those controllers will also be compatible with this new Eye camera, making them useful once more. At launch, PS4 systems will include a set of Augmented Reality games called The Playroom. PS4 owners who have a PS4 Eye camera will be able to take part in some incredibly cool demonstrations of the Dualshock 4 and PS4 Eye camera’s potential.

One example I came across in my research was a mini game where the player could use the Dualshock 4 to suck up aliens on screen. The aliens then appeared inside the controller on the television and when the player shakes the controller, the vibrations make it feel like something is bouncing around inside. Players can press various buttons on the controller and see the onscreen image react accordingly as the trapped aliens react to each button press.

What’s even more exciting is that The Playroom will also include free downloadable content to further expand upon the experiences within.

The PS4 Eye is something worth owning
I know the PlayStation Move didn’t fare too well, but the PlayStation 4 Eye camera is looking like an excellent piece of technology. If nothing else, owning one will encourage Sony is provide support for it. There’s an argument to be made about requiring it so everyone owns one, but I think Sony did the right thing in giving people the choice to purchase it when they desire.

So, not required, but certainly recommended. Besides, if it does come to life and try to enslave humanity, our last words can be a satisfying “I told you so.”

Will you be purchasing a PS4 Eye Camera at launch? What features do you want to see from it? Tell us in the comments!

Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert Date: 10/30/2013

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