Sep 25, 2013
Sony have recently confirmed that they are rivalling the Xbox One’s Kinect with similar features on the PlayStation 4, with their PlayStation Eye.
The accessory is supposedly also going to support face recognition and voice commands, meaning you can start up a nice game of Watch Dogs without physical movement. Voice commands an be used the navigate the system, or in games. The visual interaction will be joined by face recognition to see which user is on the console, as well as gesture navigation on the menus. This is exactly what the Kinect aims to do, and Sony are set to rival them.
Alongside this, it is reported that the console will support video capture via HDMI, which could prove an interesting venture further down the line. Or for YouTube to be flooded with even more game clips.
This information comes after news that the Eye was supposed to be bundled along with the console, something which Microsoft eventually chose to do. Sony were looking to undercut the Xbox One, and succeeded, with a lot of great PR arising from their console announcements. The move was done in secrecy before the announcements, to ensure that Microsoft were unaware of the change, and to gain the upper hand.
The higher price tag of the Xbox seems to put off many consumers, and Sony have taken advantage of this, offering theirs for a significantly lower price. The Eye will cost around $60, which still leaves a difference between the consoles. The Playroom has already demonstrated the potential of the camera, and shows it could rival the Kinect quite easily. However it will most likely be less deeply integrated into the system, and prove to merely be a different form of interaction, rather than a necessary accessory for navigation. And so it is probably a good move not to bundle it with the console, as for some it may be a bit of a gimmick.
Despite this, the camera could be doomed to irrelevancy, just like the EyeToy and PS3 Eye that came before it. Developers may not make use of the camera, whereas the Microsoft userbase will all own a Kinect, and thus allow developers to create new ways of interacting with your favourite games. The gaming industry could have been very different if both consoles were bundled with their respective cameras, yet Sony chose not to in the names of business, and winning the console war.
The fact Sony are offering a similar device is great, as games can take advantage of visual interaction on either system. But how many gamers will actually pick up a camera separately? Probably only a fraction. And it is because of this, the frequency that developers make use of this feature could be low, and so Sony could have altered the future of console gaming without even realising.