E3 2013: Sony demos The Playroom for PS4 and Playstation 4 Eye

Mini-games, augmented reality and little robots help show off the PS4's features

E3 2013 Sony demos The Playroom for PS4 and Playstation 4 Eye
14th June, 2013 By Ian Morris

While Sony have now spilled the beans about most aspects of their new console, the Playstation 4 - we know how much it'll cost, roughly when it'll launch, what it looks like, and all about how its new controller works - one aspect that's been kept surprisingly under wraps is that of its new camera, the Playstation 4 Eye. Originally pictured alongside the console at Sony's initial "reveal" event back in February, there's been little mentioned ever since about how the camera will actually work, and what it can do - is it a high tech, complex infra-red device like Kinect that'll require a large amount of space to work, or is it simply an upgraded webcam, like the Playstation Eye was on the Playstation 3? While we're still not quite sure where it sits on the camera spectrum, we do have a better idea of the sort of thigns it can do, as Sony have released a cool little teaser trailer for something they're calling The Playroom - an interactive demo of the PS4's new features.

Running down all the features of the new controller and camera, the demo opens by showing you the glowing blue strip on the front of the DualShock 4 pad. This lets the camera know where you are in the room, and allows it to track you in 3D space. Even opening the menu of the Playroom is cool, as, using "augmented reality" technology similar to Wonderbook, the game shows your living room on screen, and overlays a menu over the top of it, as though it's projecting out the front of your controller. Navigating the menu by swiping across the touch screen, or tilting the controller and taking advantage of its built in motion sensors, you can choose to play a number of demos that show off the console's capabilities.

One of the cooler parts of the demo is labelled "Play with Asobi", which causes a giant, floating robotic orb to jump out of your controller when you rub the touchpad like a magic lamp. Judging by the demo below, the camera can then track your movements as you play with the robot - either tickling its sensors, or giving it a slap - with hilarious results. Meanwhile, the trailer also seems to hint that facial recognition may be a possibility on the PS4, with the console appearing to log in, or at least recognise their Marcus Brigstocke lookalike.

Meanwhile, in another part of the demo, The Playroom takes a leaf out of Rayman: Raving Rabbid's book by showing you the inside of the controller, where it's revealed a few dozen robots have been making their home. Hold your hand in front of the controller's sensor, and you can block off the light inside, causing them to panic - or shake it around, and you'll send them flying. Better still, if you flick your finger across the touch screen, you can have them hop out into your living room, and wander around the floor.

The Playroom Screenshot

Marcus Brigstocke certainly seems to be enjoying his new PS4.

While The Playroom is currently classed as a "tech demo" and nothing more, we'd be somewhat surprised if this didn't make its way to the PS4 in some way, shape or form. Bundling it in as a demo on the console would seem to make sense - after all, if you've just bought a new console and want to try out all its cool features, being able to try them out in the form of a mini-game collection makes a lot of sense. Just ask Wii Sports. While we'd be surprised if it ever made it out as a disc based game, we wouldn't expect this to be the last you'll see of The Playroom - expect it to be making its presence felt on a PS4 near you when the console launches this Winter.

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