While they have already shown plenty of potential in the medium through a number of games on current-generation consoles, Sony’s efforts in creating ‘augmented reality’ gaming is set to become both more advanced and mainstream with the PlayStation 4, after it was revealed that new title The Playroom will be available as a ‘pre-installed’ option for anyone who purchases the new system.
With Sony starting to develop a trend of including a strong pre-loaded portfolio of content for their various products, it appears as though the method is now being applied to gaming, with The Playroom described as an augmented reality offering that combines the new ‘Dualshock 4 wireless controller’ with the console’s optional add-on camera ‘PlayStation Camera’ to provide motion-controlled play.
The system is noted as being one which ‘offers a variety of experiences’, notably including the option of bringing virtual robots to the ‘gameplay area’ (an AR version of what the camera sees), whilst gameplay-wise users are able to utilise the controller’s ‘Touch Pad’ as a means of interacting with menus and the game’s characters, with the controller’s ‘Light Bar’ tracked by the PlayStation Camera, combining as a means of ‘drawing’ objects in-game that can come to life as ‘3D toys’ for the title’s mini-game features.
Although that camera will not feature as part of the official PS4 launch bundle (unlike Microsoft’s Xbox One, which will contain a mandatory Kinect camera at a cost of $100 more than their rivals), the PS4’s add-on will be a key part of the ‘consumer experience’ for those that wish to take advantage of its features, according to Sony Computer Entertainment’s president/CEO Andrew House, who said of the product also known as the ‘PlayStation Eye': “There’s consumer flexibility. We have a camera which will build some great consumer experiences, especially when it’s used in conjunction with the DualShock 4, but we’re not mandating that, or forcing that purchase on the consumer.
“I see our approach on PS4 as really taking Sony Computer Entertainment back to our original roots. When we first launched with the PS1 and certainly the PS2, the goal was to give the consumer more choice, and lots of flexibility at a time when the delivery mechanism of games, on cartridges paced a lot of restrictions on the industry.”
The Playroom is also noted as being PS Vita, smartphones, and tablet computer-compatible with multi-controller support, and while finer details on the game are not yet , will the innovative format see it become a successful ‘launch title’ in a very literal sense for the PS4?