Mostly, everyone has heard about or experienced motion gaming. Nintendo started the craze when it released the Wiimote, a tiny rectangle that users held in their hand to simulate movement inside a game. For a time the Wiimote and Wii Sports were all people needed. Microsoft soon changed the game with Kinect, a motion sensor that sat on top of your television and monitored your movements. Today, Sony has the PlayStation Camera.
The PlayStation Camera works just like the Kinect sensor you might have seen used with an Xbox One or Xbox 360. It sits atop your television looking out at you as you go about your day. When you’re ready to interact with your console it’s there to take your voice commands. When your family is ready to play a game together it’ll let everyone have a good time.
A lot of people aren’t hesitating to purchase a PS4 at this point, but many are wondering if buying a PlayStation Camera is a good idea. It turns out that the answer to that question is more nuanced than you might assume.
What Is the PlayStation Camera?
Simply put, the PlayStation Camera is an accessory for Sony’s PS4. It doesn’t come with the console, instead, you purchase it separately to unlock a number of different features that you wouldn’t be able to use on your PS4.
We are all used to gaming consoles coming with a controller. Wired or wireless, these controllers allow users to navigate the console’s interface. Controllers are great for playing video games and getting around complicated apps. What gamers sometimes don’t understand is that a controller appears ridiculously complicated to the average electronics user. The DualShock 4 Wireless controller has north of 10 different buttons.
The PlayStation Camera uses sensors and software to see you in a room. This way, the least technical literate in your household can navigate the PS4 interface without having to use a controller. Sometimes this is with voice. Other times, its with hand movements that the camera understands.
PlayStation Camera Features
Again, making the PS4 accessible to the average user is the PlayStation Camera’s biggest feature. That being said, this lends itself to more than just voice commands in apps and simple navigation. The PlayStation Camera uses is sensors to identify you in a room. Once it has Identified you or anyone else, it logs you into the PlayStation Network. Something that would normally take a few button presses on a controller just happens automatically.
Gaming factors heavily into the PlayStation Camera too. For years, picking up a controller was the only way you could play your titles. Buying the PlayStation Camera unlocks new possibilities. For the dancer in all of us, PlayStation Camera lets users play titles like Just Dance 2015 without a controller just like they can on Microsoft’s Xbox One. A small number of games require that you have a PlayStation Camera to play, but a growing number of them simply build in support for it along with a standard DualShock 4 controller. Talk too loudly in Alien Isolation and you’ll make yourself easier to track. You can change plays in Madden NFL 15 with just a voice command or even call a timeout.
The PlayStation Camera also lets users record themselves and add video to their in-game clips for extra commentary. There’s a Twitch app to so that you can provide commentary in real-time. In the Playroom app you can have fun with different kinds of effects.
Should You Buy a PlayStation Camera?
Whether you should purchase a PlayStation Camera for your PS4 comes down to how badly you think you need an easier way to interact with your PS4 and how immersed you want to be in the games you already like.
First, Sony sells the PlayStation Camera based on the idea that you’ll be able to navigate the PS4 interface easier, and you can. What’s a problem is navigating some third-party apps. Even today, there are some that don’t allow for voice or gesture navigation. Second, while the number of games with PlayStation Camera support as another input method are growing, the number of games that use it as their only controller is dwindling.
If you have a family, chances are you want the PlayStation Camera so that the console can be used without you needing to be there to guide everyone through it. In that case I’d say that buying a PlayStation Camera is a great idea. If you don’t have a family, but want voice controls and a more immersive experience in some of your games, is still a buy. If you want to add commentary and stream your game play, again a PlayStation Camera is a great purchase.
If you don’t fit into any of those categories, it’s probably a good idea to stay clear.