Although when most gamers think of voice control features, specifically as they pertain to the next generation of console gaming, they think the Xbox One and Kinect, Sony is looking to change that with the PS4 and the PlayStation Eye. While Sony has yet to make any formal announcement regarding voice control and enhanced, motion-based navigation, they did tease such features would be able with the PS4.
At the GameStop Expo in Vegas, Sony rolled out a complete video presentation that included a brief teaser regarding to what the PlayStation Camera will be able to do. Some of the buzzwords mentioned included “navigational voice commands” and “facial recognition,” two features that have become staples of Microsoft’s Kinect.
“From navigational voice commands to facial recognition, the PlayStation Camera adds incredible innovation to your gaming.”
If Sony wants to put themselves on even footing with Microsoft in the motion controller space, this is certainly a great place to start. Personally, Kinect voice commands are the most reliable feature afforded by Microsoft’s motion controller, and have lead to the most impressive features. Being able to call out commands in Mass Effect 3, for example, was a non-intrusive piece of functionality that added to the experience.
More importantly for Sony, though, is the fact that the PlayStation Camera is an opt-in peripheral. The camera does not come bundled with the PS4′s base model, and it is not a requirement for console operation.
Microsoft’s Kinect, on the other hand, comes with every Xbox One SKU. Yes, Microsoft has pared down their Kinect support by not requiring the motion controller for console operation, but it’s still inextricably linked to the Xbox One for now. That way Microsoft can guarantee developers that every Xbox One owner will have a Kinect in their home, and developers can augment the controller-based experience with voice commands or motion controls.
Speaking of Xbox One controllers, we have also learned that Microsoft’s next-gen console will support up to 8 controllers at one time. Our guess is that means the console can have 8 controllers synced with it at a time, not that there will be Xbox One games that support up to 8 players, but who knows?
Switching controllers is said to be much easier with the Xbox One, as the Kinect will register who is holding what controller and will match Xbox Live Gamertags and accounts with specific players. So, rather than trading off controllers and switching profiles, the player switch will presumably be seamless.
How would you like to see Sony use the PlayStation Camera to enhance navigation? How many additional Xbox One controllers do you plan to pick up at launch?
The PS4 goes on sale November 15, 2013 for $399 and the Xbox One will hit stores this November for $499.