You’re fortunate enough to have a PlayStation 4 sitting under your TV, having chosen the Sony console over Microsoft’s Xbox One and Nintendo’s Wii U. Now, you want to know which accessories to buy for it. We’ve already offered up five suggestions, but the PlayStation Camera deserves some special attention. So, is it worth buying? Now, later, ever?
The PlayStation Camera for PS4 comprises a small black unit that should fit nicely into most people’s set-ups. It can be placed either on a TV stand or on the TV itself using the PlayStation Clip (available separately). It’s a very capable camera, with a resolution of 1280 pixels by 800 pixels and a max frame rate of 240 fps.
It can be used in a number of different ways: As a traditional camera for filming you in your living room, as a Kinect-style device for motion-controlled games (used in conjunction with the light bar on the rear of the controller), as a means of controlling your PS4 with voice controls, and as a secure way of locally logging into the system using facial recognition.
But what else is made possible by owning a PlayStation Camera for PS4?
The Playroom is a free application preinstalled on to all PS4 consoles. It contains a collection of mini-games designed to both show off the capabilities of the PlayStation Camera and offer some simple fun.
There’s a flying robot called Asobi, a collection of little critters called the AR Bots, and a motion-controlled Pong clone. All of which offer occasional entertainment.
Developers are also able to release new games for The Playroom as DLC, and Double Fine Productions have done just that with My Alien Buddy.
At the time of writing there is just one game available for the PS4 that’s compatible with the PlayStation Camera. And, as it’s Just Dance 2014, it’s not a great advertisement for the product. Because Just Dance 2014 isn’t very good.
Just Dance 2014 is also available on a number of other platforms, being nothing but a port from the previous generation of consoles. PS4 owners with a PlayStation Move controller don’t even need the camera as they can just use the last-gen technology.
This is disappointing, and Sony really should have pushed for more compatible games to be available at launch.
Twitch & Ustream
The PS4 makes it very easy to stream video of yourself sitting in front of your TV using Ustream and/or to stream footage of yourself playing games using Twitch. You can also watch other people on Ustream and Twitch using the ‘Live from PlayStation’ application.
You need a PlayStation Camera in order to film yourself for Ustream. You don’t need a PlayStation camera in order to offer a Twitch feed, but it certainly helps, as having yourself commentating into camera while playing a game for the enjoyment of other people is a guaranteed way of gaining more viewers.
Right now, the PlayStation Camera is a mild distraction that will, for the most part, likely sit gathering dust. Those with children — kids seem to love The Playroom more than life itself — will see it used more regularly. As will those who stream games on Twitch, a job it manages fantastically well.
However, what you’re really buying when you buy the PlayStation Camera for PS4 is potential. As things are sure to improve. More voice controls will be added, gesture controls will (hopefully) be added, new DLC will be released for The Playroom, and then there are the games.
PS4 Games that utilize the PlayStation Camera will arrive in time, and when they do you’ll be ahead of the curve. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the more people who buy the PlayStation Camera, the more developers will be interested in creating games that make use of it.
If you’ve read to this point then you should have already drawn your own conclusions and decided whether the PlayStation Camera for PS4 is a worthy purchase for you personally. In which case we have done our job. If, however, you have scrolled straight to the bottom of the article hoping we’d tell you what to do…
Assuming you can afford the PlayStation Camera then we recommend you buy one. For the price of a single game you’re getting voice controls and facial recognition, the chance to show off to your friends and family using The Playroom, the opportunity to stream via Twitch and/or Ustream, and a great deal of future potential.
Image Credit: Miles Goodhew via Flickr