Sony has confirmed that its forthcoming PS4 console will support voice commands via the optional Eye camera peripheral.
Speaking to gaming site Polygon a Sony spokesperson said: "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 on November 29.”
The feature was first spotted after a video of a PS4 presentation at the GameStop Expo in Las Vegas was uploaded to YouTube. At the 5:30 mark a slide is shown for the Eye that says: "From navigational voice commands to facial recognition, the PlayStation Camera adds incredible innovation to your gaming."
In the video, Sony manager Sean Coleman also says that the camera’s “new stereoscopic lens can track your body movement in games and even recognise your face for easier system navigation.”
These details further align the Xbox One and PS4 systems, with both manufacturers touting full use of the systems’ respective cameras for the ‘best experience’. Gamers have been largely suspicious of these peripherals, but both Sony and Microsoft obviously believe that they can be put to good use in expanding the gaming experience. The facial recognition feature mentioned by Coleman is very similar to the Xbox One’s ability to let users ‘log in’ with their face.
It was first revealed to IGN that Sony had originally intended to bundle the PS4 with the Eye camera as standard, just as Microsoft are doing with the Xbox One and the Kinect. However, in order to undercut Microsoft on price the camera was dropped and is now sold separately. Buying both the PS4 and the Eye together costs £393 whilst buying both the Xbox One and Kinect sets you back £429.
IGN notes that whilst dropping the Eye has given the PS4 the edge in price, it means that Sony’s camera will never get the same integration with games that the Kinect will. Developers working on Microsoft’s system will no longer have to worry about wasting time on a feature that gamers might not have the correct hardware to use.
However, as both consoles are expected to be on the market for at least eight years, it’s likely that the PS4 and the Eye will accrue more support as gamers and developers find their feet using camera-enabled titles.