Sony’s PlayStation 4 console came out Friday.
If you purchased one of the next-gen consoles for $US399 you may have noticed you’re not able to play the pre-installed game that came with the system right away.
In order to do that, you need the PlayStation Camera that’s sold separately for an additional $US59.99 — the same price as any additional controllers you may want to purchase in addition to the one that comes standard with the console.
Is the camera really necessarily to get the full use of your new game console?
Here’s what you should know before buying the PS4 camera.
It’s Super Small
Sony really knocked it out of the park with the design on this thing. It’s super small compared to the Xbox 360 Kinect so it barely takes up any room on your entertainment console. (We’ll show you a photo of it next to the new Kinect later this week.)
You can lay it flat or stand it up. You can check out more photos of it here.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH IT?
1. Give the PS4 Simple Voice Commands
Unlike the Xbox 360, there isn’t a multitude of commands to give the PlayStation 4, and that’s OK.
Similar to Microsoft’s gaming platform, to tell Sony’s next-gen console to do something you use the word, PlayStation. Simple enough.
After you login, you’re given three option commands from the homescreen: Power, Take Screenshot, Login (to change between users playing). Any command you can say pops up easily on the screen to read.
Hover over a game and you’re given the option to start. Once inside the game, you can easily return to the homescreen at any time saying “PlayStation: Home Screen.”
Want to return to the game? Say: “PlayStation: Back to game.”
That’s great. But does it work?
95% of the time, yes, though I’ve experienced a few hiccups. For instance, I’ve said “PlayStation Start” and the console will go over to another game. This didn’t seem to happen much at all. A problem I’ve encountered multiple times is that if I say “PlayStation” and let the command options hover for a little, it goes directly to Power without having said anything. It’s not a huge problem as you can easily go back, but if it happens multiple times, it does begin to get a bit frustrating.
I’ve also had to say some commands more than once.
But when the PS4 commands work — and they usually do — they work very quickly. I can tell the PlayStation various commands and it can swap between them effortlessly. However, like I said, there aren’t many commands for the system to go back and forth between.
2. Facial Recognition
As an alternative to logging in to your PS4 username manually at launch, the PlayStation has the ability to log you in just by recognising your face.
You can go through a simple painless face recognition setup (it took us about a minute, if that) and then you’re good to go.
Here’s what it looks like:
This is a cool added feature, and maybe will have use in future games, but at the moment it’s not something that really changes your gaming experience with the console.
OK — but what if I don’t want to log in with facial recognition?
You can simply turn it off under Login settings.
While we were with the Sony reps last week, they didn’t push the camera on us as a necessary feature. They showed us how it worked and what it was capable of at the moment, but we didn’t spend too much time with it. They were more focused on showing us other features of the controller and console along with games.
3. Watch Yourself Play with Adorable Robots
The best thing you’re currently able to do with the camera is play with virtual reality robots in The Playroom, a game that comes pre-installed with the PS4.
Without the camera, you can’t enable The Playroom. This isn’t the end of the world; however, if you’ve seen Jimmy Fallon on Late Night playing with the robots, it looks like you’re missing out.
Post by Kirsten Acuna. Essentially, you're given full reign over your own minion army of robots. You can play with them, toss them around, scare them, and more. You just can't have them do your bidding. We have to admit, it IS fun. This is where the PlayStation shows off its full range of capabilities, but after 10-15 minutes you'll probably wonder what else you can do with them on camera. If you're not planning to invest, and have kids, you may want to keep them from seeing the robots at all cost.
Wait. Are there other games I can play with the camera?Not really, and that's a shame because Sony's Camera works great with the PS4. Inside The Playroom you can also play with another robot called Asobi who's not as much fun as the little robots. You can tickle it and make it mad at you, but not much else. [image url="http://static.businessinsider.com/image/528a7ab76da81167788b456b/image.jpg" alt="Asobi robot ps4 playstation 4" link="lightbox" size="secondary" align="right" clear="true" source="Kirsten Acuna / Business Insider"] You can also play air hockey, but you need a second player and controller (another $US59.99 gadget that doesn't come included with the console) to play.
4. What else can I do with it?If you're live streaming your gameplay on Twitch or Ustream, the camera allows you to narrate while playing.
CONCLUSIONThe PlayStation 4 Camera is great, but it's not necessary ... yet. I really like PS4's camera. It's small enough to not look bulky on your entertainment console. There aren't a lot of commands to say, but that's ok. Sony keeps it simple without overcomplicating. With Microsoft's Kinect I feel slightly overwhelmed by the amount of command options at my disposal, that I usually don't end up using them anyway. Overall, it works great. Certainly, the technology isn't perfect as I had to repeat myself a few times, but for the most part, I didn't have many problems. The biggest issue I found was that I wanted to do more and I just haven't found much necessary use for it yet. If you don't have the $US60 now and rather invest in a second controller, you won't be missing out on much (granted you can live without virtual robots).
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