ReCAP – Raising My Voice About PS4 Voice Recognition

December 8, 2013

Like any avid gamer & video game enthusiast, when something new and shiny comes out, I gotta have it. Its my passion and I hate waiting to see how something is going to turn out and be adopted by the community or kicked to the curb (PlayStation Move are you hearing me?). The launch day accessories (or in my case the 2 week early launch day accessories) that arrived with the PlayStation 4 are no exception to my wanton desire to have it all and in this case I’m referring to the PlayStation Camera.

I picked up my PS4 camera WAY earlier than launch so I had it in my hands mocking me for about 2 weeks. But come launch day (or night in my case) I cracked that beotch open and started to see what it could do. The camera doesn’t have a USB connection but instead uses a proprietary connector with a dedicated port on the back of the PS4; this is good news since the PS4 only has 2 front-facing USB ports for other peripherals. The camera also has 2 lenses and several perforated areas on the front to pick up sound, a step forward from the top mounted mic array and single lens of the PS3 Eye. And it comes with a bendable, fold-able stand for support if you want to have it sit atop your TV/monitor.

I was looking forward to see how well it performed from both a gaming stand-point and from what I was really interested in, the voice recognition technology. The only game available to test with was The Playroom which is a glorified interactive tech demo more than anything (its not a “gamer’s game” by any stretch). Once I was over that, I really started to dig into the voice recognition capabilities. For an in-depth look at this and to see some of the short-comings/hindrances take a look at my video tutorial here:

So, as you can see from the video, it’s cool technology that wears thin pretty fast. There seems to be a bit of unreliability to it as well. In one case you can clearly hear me pronounce the hot word and not have it respond but then when repeated, it responds just fine. A bit finicky if you ask me. You also need to speak clearly; anything muffled just doesn’t compute. I also found myself yelling at it; like pressing harder on a remote button will get it to work better. Not sure how loud I have to be but typically I’m only 6′ (2 meters for all the non-US people) away from the camera placement.

I’m not disappointed in it by any means, it’s still new & cool and I hope Sony ends up doing more with it both in terms of interactive behavior and game involvement. Here’s a few of my hopes & gripes…

    • Customization of the “hot word”. Saying “PlayStation” is alright, but I wanna say something of my own choosing.
    • Expand the functions. Right now you can navigate, perform some power functions and start games. I want to record stuff in an instant & I want it to work in-game.
    • I want to be able to not only start a game but pause it too. All games could use standard words for start, pause, menu commands without too much effort.
    • It would be cool to say “Start Streaming” and whatever game you’re in, starts up your preferred streaming service (Twitch or uStream are choices at the moment).
    • Add in some additional main commands aka Xbox One power on stuff. The PS4 can already go into stand-by mode and provide power to the USB ports; I don’t think it’s a hard stretch to also provide stand-by power to the camera port as well for this to work.

That’s just things that come to mind for me. One thing I covered in another video is the facial recognition features and I’ll cover that in a ReCAP article too so stay tuned because I’ve got a lot of ideas I’d like to see come to fruition with that. In summary, voice commands are cool on the PS4, limited currently and are a novelty at the moment. What do you guys think about it? Did you pick up the camera? Do you think it’ll be widely adopted? How do you think it stacks up against the competition (keep it civil in the comments please!). Hope you enjoyed the article and as always, happy gaming… PALMER OUT!

ReCAP articles are a quick review of past topics/videos CNPalmer has covered. The article is meant to augment the information from the video/article and not give a rehash of its content. It is also to provide some additional tips and details that may have been skimmed over and could use some additional focus or mention. It is meant for mature audiences only. For more information follow CNPalmer on Twitter and subscribe to his YouTube channel to keep up to date on his other segments and work within the gaming community.

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