Sony took advantage of this year’s Tokyo Game Show (TGS 2013) by highlighting various features of their next-gen PlayStation 4 as well as showcasing new additions like the PS Vita TV micro-console and the new PS Vita Slim models.
The company’s keynote address answered some questions surrounding the PlayStation 4′s camera, specifically regarding the device’s voice and gesture control functions as well as video capturing output.
While we’ve pretty much known from the start that the PS4 camera would be used as a social interaction tool for gamers, Sony has confirmed that the peripheral will feature voice and gesture controls much like its competitor’s Kinect sensor.
The initial speculation of voice and gesture navigation was gleaned from an Amazon listing for the PS4 camera which mentioned the function:
“From navigational voice commands to facial recognition, the PlayStation Camera adds incredible innovation to your gaming.”
The device’s dual cameras and integrated quad mics afford players with the chance to interact with their friends via the PlayStation Network, however the add-on isn’t bundled with the system and is instead sold separately at $59.99.
When it comes to video capturing, Sony also revealed that the PlayStation 4 delivers unencrypted HDMI output for recorded game footage–which will be an asset for YouTube users who post frequent walkthroughs in HD. For smaller clips players will be able to use the console’s innovative Share button which sends footage straight to various social networks.
Using HDMI output to capture footage won’t be available at the PS4′s launch, however, as Sony exec Shuhei Yoshida explains that it will be coming “in the future”:
We announced today that PS4 users will be able to capture their gameplay through HDMI output in the future. We’ll update you when ready.
— Shuhei Yoshida (@yosp) September 19, 2013
Amazon’s listing had mentioned facial recognition as one of the PS4 camera’s capabilities, and in a recent interview Sony’s Masayasu Ito has confirmed that this function will be available at launch:
“At the time of launch, first the face recognition is for the purpose of logging in.”
As Ito explains, Sony will also most likely push this utility even farther as new possibilities open up:
“That’s as far as it goes, but continuous updates, it can go deeper. Make it with greater depth. With face recognition, we think about how that could be used in the context of the game.”
It’s interesting to see Sony introduce this kind of functionality with the PS4 camera, as facial recognition as a security measure has been commonplace on the smartphone market for some time now, but the concept is relatively new to the console realm.
How secure your login will be depends on the camera’s precision, of course, and it may be easy to fool its sophisticated lens–but it’s still an innovative feature nonetheless.
Coupled with the myriad of ways to make use of the PS4 camera–from customizing pictures with quirky software to social interactivity and controller-free navigation–the device adds a new level of convenience and customization to the next-gen experience.
While the Xbox One’s Kinect 2.0 sensor might be more expensive and contain more dynamic features, the PS4 camera is a nifty add-on that won’t break your wallet and affords players with a smattering of enjoyable functions.
Sony’s PlayStation 4 will hit the retail market on Nov. 15, 2013 in North America for a price point of $399.