Sony revealed the successor to the popular PlayStation Eye camera last night during the PlayStation 4 reveal. This camera has a lot of improvements over it's predecessors. As a professional videographer and avid gamer, I was eager to find out the specs on this camera. Let's take a closer look at what this thing can do and what kind of gameplay possibilities it has. First the specs:
|External Dimension||Approx. 186mm x 27mm x 27mm (width x height x depth) (tentative)|
|Weight||Approx. 183g (tentative)|
|Video Pixel||(Maximum) 1280 x 800 pixel x 2|
|Video Frame Rate||1280×800 pixel @ 60fps 640×400 pixel @ 120fps
320×192 pixel @ 240fps
|Video Format||RAW, YUV (uncompressed)|
|Lens||Dual Lenses, F value/F2.0 fixed focus|
|Microphone||4 Channel Microphone Array|
|Connection Type||PS4 dedicated connector (AUX connector)|
|Cable Length||Approx. 2m (tentative)|
As you can see, we now have 2 cameras positioned a few inches apart from each other to produce a 3D image. This will enable not only far more accurate tracking of both the Move controllers and the new DualShock 4 controller, but also full body tracking in 3D on a limited scale. I doubt we'll see the type of precision rumored to be in the new Kinect, with it supposedly being able to track individual fingers on your hands and such, but for rough full body motion tracking it should do just fine. Toss in a Move controller or two and you can achieve even more accurate full body tracking (with buttons!). 3D video chat with your friends is also likely, with Sony wanting to promote their 3DTVs. While 3DTV has been slow to take off, this still sounds like a cool feature to have for those who are into the 3D thing.
The other thing I notice is that both cameras are WXGA resolution (1280x800 pixels). This is a bit of an odd choice, as most of our TVs are 16:9 and WXGA is a 16:10 resolution. Perhaps the slightly taller frame allows for better motion tracking when swinging a Move around, I'm not sure. The impressive thing are the frame rates supported. It's unclear based on the above specs whether the video frame rate is for both lenses together, or if each individual lens is capturing at those frame rates. If the latter is true, we're talking about 4 times faster frame rate than the PlayStation Eye's frame rate. Even if the frame rate is for both lenses collectively, we're still talking double the frame rate of the PSEye.
Moving on to it's lens, we see it has a fixed focus lens (everything farther away from 30cm will be in focus) that has an aperture of f2.0. Aperture is how much light the lens lets into the camera, and is gauged in what are called f-stops. The lower the F number, the more light it lets into the camera. For comparison, the iPhone 5's camera has an aperture of F2.8. As such, the PlayStation 4 Eye camera actually has a "faster" (lower f-stop) lens than the iPhone 5. This should give it a very respectable performance in low light. This camera also has a field of view that is 10 degrees wider than the original PlayStation Eye.
The PlayStation 4 Eye also comes with the same type of 4 mic array used on the PlayStation Eye, though the mics appear to be positioned differently this time. These mics will help the PS4 be able to filter the sound of your voice out from background noise, and can also be used to tell where in the room your voice is coming from so the system can tell one player from another based on the position and sound of their voice.
PlayStation 4 Eye's Mic Arrangement
One good thing about this camera is that it uses it's own dedicated port to plug into the PS4, which frees up the USB 3.0 slots to be used with other devices. It's obvious that Sony has put a lot of thought into how they could improve the PlayStation Eye camera, and they have produced a very capable motion tracking system as well as a high quality 3D video camera for video chat. It will be interesting to see how and if developers make use of these new features. Not everyone is into motion gaming, however with 8GB's of DDR5 RAM to spare, as well as dedicated hardware video encoders/decoders, it should be no problem to enable video chat with your friends in game for every game with minimum impact on system performance.
E-mpire will continue to bring you details on the PlayStation 4 Eye and games that support it. Leave a comment to let us know what you think of the new PS4 Eye!