EyeToy, Innovation and Beyond

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Hi everyone – it’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the PlayStation 2 launched and 11 years since I first started here at Sony Computer Entertainment America. Over the last decade, I’ve had the privilege of working on some of PlayStation’s latest and greatest – the EyeToy being one of my first big projects when I joined the company in 1999.

eyetoy camera

The EyeToy USB camera was the first of its kind to translate your body movements into game controls, map your face onto in-game characters and more. It was created to allow you to physically interact with games, such as Antigrav, EyeToy Play and Kinetic, using your body. The unencumbered feeling of no wires and feeling free (instead of connected to your television) was very important, as was the simplicity of the controls. Everyone, even non-gamers, felt like they could just jump in and play, which was great. We learned a lot from our experience creating EyeToy, and it has definitely played a significant role in the development of PlayStation Move. We’ve pulled together a quick look back at the technology that started it all in the video below.

EyeToy helped us understand that while people definitely enjoy physical interaction and movement, they also want precise control and a simple, fast, reliable way to trigger actions. We also found that some experiences just feel more natural when holding a tool, or a “prop.” Seven years later, we’ve introduced PlayStation Move, which we think is the ideal combination of both spatial and action/button input. We here at PlayStation are always looking for ways to enhance the gamers’ experience and we’re looking forward to the new experiences PlayStation Move will enable over the next 10 years.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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8 Author Replies

  • I agree. I think that motion can be really fun but relying fully on my hands or movements doesn’t offer the complexity of gameplay we’ve come to expect as gamers. Sometimes that’s fine, but other times you want more than “lean” or “jump!” Move is the best because it does it all precisely.

  • I loved Antigrav back in the day. Eye toy was cool but I think you guys nailed it when you realized that physical feedback is needed.

  • haaaaahahaha! i see what you did there…

    eat that Kinect >:D

  • I absolutely love that this blog chose this day in particular to discuss Sony’s first foray into movement-based gaming technology, and summarily dismiss all future attempts at controller-free movement by saying an early attempt with low-grade technology didn’t work.

    Some experiences are better with a prop in your hand. You know, like dancing! yaybuttons.com agrees with this.

  • OMG microsoft is a complete ripoff. Sony retains the worlds heavyweight title of games.

  • First off CONGRATS on becoming a pioneer in the space of motion gaming! Second, any chance or plans on redesigning the Playstation Eye to a more slimmer sleeker version, kind of like the EyeToy did?

    • Thanks! Regarding a redesign of PlayStation Eye, it is possible, but we’d like to keep compatible with existing mounts and stands.

  • Funny to see this article only a few days before Eyetoy 2.0 launch… err… I mean… Kinect :D

  • Hahah, this is a great article, I’ve been worried that not enough people have pointed out that Kinect is old technology, and that just like Sony has advanced the Wii’s technology, (to hopeful success), Kinect is advancing the Eyetoy’s old tech, (which, if the trend follows, will meet little success.)

  • Anyway, good work on the Move-tech, Richard. Looking forward to some more (and better) games for it.

  • I’m loving the PS Move and I can’t wait for more games that support it. I am especially excited about Beat Sketcher. I think you guys came up with the perfect combination of controller accuracy and a controller with buttons.

  • My thoughts are that it’s a shame that both eyetoys were completely neglected after only a few months. A lot of initial hype…then people like me who pay for new controllers get screwed because the products aren’t supported. Will the same happen with Move?

    Sony isn’t helping matters by not putting all the Move demos on their store… I might have bought another Move game by now if they did.

    • Most PlayStation Move Demos *are* on the store right now. Check out the PlayStation Move section under the Demos category. There are 10 at present.

  • due to the recent anniversaries of different things playstation i recently watched the rubber ducky demo with pirate ships for ps3 again. i had forgotten the part where the you came out with the cups.

  • got my first eye toy when i got the eye of judgement bundle.in a nutshell the eye toy is a fine piece of technology.kudos to you guys at sony for developing this item :0

  • I love the Playstation move! It’s much better than the Wii which I also have much more accurate! Keep up the great work!

  • @13 perrandy

    Eye toy and Ps eye are 2 different things

  • I have to say that I was very surprised by how precise the move was when I tried it out at a local Best Buy; it was enough for me to pick up two controllers and Sports Champ (already had the camera). I’m hoping more devs will start supporting the device and bring out some AAA titles that take advantage of this sweet hardware.

  • @Berae thanks for clarifying dude. major facepalm on me for the confusion XD

  • We need more Apps for the Camera. I once saw you guy draw tanks on paper and then it would come alive on the screen where is that?? And PS Eye hasn’t had any games in 2+ years. Except Move.

    • The drawing tech was done by Anton Mikhailov. It is actually incorporated into EyePet; you can either use Move to draw, or you can draw on a piece of paper and “scan” the drawing using the PS Eye.

      With the release of Move, there are now many more PlayStation Eye cameras out there. That makes it a lot more interesting proposition for a developer to make a camera-only game now.

  • @17 perrandy

    loll no problem XD

  • A couple of wish features for the PS Eye:
    1. Make it look better, and make it easier to attach to a TV.
    2. Better quality video and picture (HD quality).

    • 1. There are mounts on the market now that help the PS Eye attach to TVs better. Another trick when you are putting the Eye on top of a TV is to actually dangle it over the front lip, with the cord pulling back over the TV to keep it from falling. You can adjust the PS Eye base to stabilize it against the front of the TV. A little ghetto, and not as good as getting an actual mount, but usually works okay.

      2. The PS Eye video quality, like all cameras, is really only as good as the lighting. The best way to improve the video quality is to brighten the room, with light that is ambient or from in front of you. We are continuing to develop the best video quality we can possibly provide.

  • I don’t think I’ll ever see myself wanting an Eyetoy.

  • The eye toy was great tech 10 years ago, but a screamingly obvious example of how hardcore gamers won’t use it.

  • All I know is that Harmonix made great use of the work that Mark put into the EyeToy. Antigrav was awesome and I really wish we could get an Antigrav 2 for use with PS Move.

  • so Microsoft stole the name Kinect?

    wait a minute… what am I saying? of course they did! They’re Microsoft!

  • Some thoughts for Dr. Marks and SCEI.

    No doubt PlayStation Move offers the best interaction with its combination of Eye-Toy and peripherals on hand. However, it would be interesting if you could continue to try creating games JUST for the PS Eye (controlled just with player movement).

    I know the focus is on PS Move right now, and you definitely want to differentiate that experience from the competition as the best there is, but I’m sure you believe there’s an audience out there (that your competition is singly targeting)and there’s great potential on current PS Eye technology to make controller-free games (Like Eye Pet)and offer and even better experiences than the competition’s offerings.

    I don’t know if controller-free is the future, as a gamer I think PlayStation Move is the most accurate current technology for motion gaming, but I still think you should look into that, after all you are the pioneers of this game motion-sensing cameras.

    • I too would like to see some more camera-only games. Now that there are starting to be millions of connected PlayStation Eye cameras, the chances of that have greatly improved!

  • Too bad, the camera wasn’t updated when the Move was released – great tech in terms of the Move, but the camera is out of date.
    The games that put “you” into the picture – each one look’s like I’m staring at a snowstorm. A new, high definition, camera should have been released.

  • I have a question.

    I’ve been using Move over the past week and have been enjoying it. Every so often my motion controller tracking appears to either lose precision briefly (for .5 – 1.5 seconds) or registers outrageous motions that don’t correspond to my physical movement.

    I’ve noticed this while playing Sport Champions and I think once while playing Heavy Rain.

    Is there a recommended setting for the PS Eye to get the optimum performance and tracking? I know to set the camera to wide view (blue) but what about the refresh rate? Any recommendations for the lighting conditions (watts, location of light source, etc)?

    Side note;
    As for EyeToy, can someone please remind the media that Kinect is -NOT- the first controller free gaming interface? Sure, it’s an enhanced version of EyeToy, but theoretically the same. It just bugs the ever living hell out of me that some companies will lie about their technology and inexperienced journalists will run with the lies and misinform the public.

    • The most important PS Eye setting for Move is to make sure the camera is in the wide setting (as you mentioned). The 50Hz or 60Hz setting in the peripherals XMB menu really just adjusts for the fluorescent flicker difference between Europe and North America (in the US, always use the 60Hz setting). The games directly control all the PS Eye settings, so you don’t need to worry about that.

      For optimal performance, ambient lighting is best. Strong back lighting or strong side lighting (like from the sun) can sometimes affect performance. Move doesn’t need any “extra” light to track perfectly, so don’t worry about that. Also, a once-in-a-while “glitch” might be due to wireless interference. So don’t play right next to a microwave :)

  • We loved our EyeToy, love our PS Eye, and we are totally enjoying the Move… great work! I’m hoping the old EyeToy games will come out on the store.. I miss “washing windows”! I definitely prefer holding something in my hand most of the time, but the occasional hands-free game, where it actually makes sense, is great, too. Perfect example looks to be the upcoming Kung Fu game. I’m glad you’re allowing for all types of games with the Eye/Move!

  • So… Microsoft Stole the name “Kinetic” and possibly the idea… PS2 did it first…

    but that’s ok, PS3 stole the motion controls from the Wii, they made it it better though, with 1:1 3D motion sensing.

    I imagine 360 made the Kinetic better, but if yur gonna rip off another company’s idea, do what PS3 did and at least change the name. PS3 at least changed the wiimote to a PlayStation Move, but 360 didn’t bother to change the name, just the look… u NEED to change both.

  • Sony should have marketed this better and harder. same with the sixaxis. keep pushing it. cause i’m sure nintendo and microsoft will introduce sixaxis like controllers next gen and get credit for introducing it.

    sony truly makes the best products, not just in gaming. but has the worst marketing strategies known to man..

    I especially love how sony pictures and bmg does zero cross playstation promotion.

    a capcom game could be tied to a sony movie but get 360 exclusive content..

    what ever happened to eyedentify? it seems some of the features shown in eyedentify and eyepet are being dismissed but the same experiences are being promoted and applauded from competitors..

    i swear i’ve taken a crazy pill cause it makes no sense to me.

    In either case, thank you for the video Richard, i’ve always enjoyed your teams tech videos and tech. looking forward to more.

  • As I said since Kinect was announced, they stole the idea from Eyetoy. Yes, the PS Move is a Wiimote rip-off but one that vastly improves upon the Wiimote. Kinect is not 1:1 where as the Move is giving gamers the ultimate motion gaming possible. Now what aggravates me is the amount of hype people are giving Kinect over PS Move…did they forget that PS2 had a controller-free device called the Eyetoy that did exactly the same thing?! Developers need to realize that the PS Eye can do the EXACT same thing as Kinect (thank you Kung Fu Live for demonstrating that). Sony is the first company to finally achieve virtual reality gaming. With 3D and PS Move combined, no other company can match how advanced Sony is in the industry.

  • Have you guys looked at a more high definition version of the Playstation Eye in the future it is pretty low resolution

  • Could you release the eye toy game Kinetic but have it to use the move tracking I loved that game.

  • EyeToy Collection HD, Anyone? I would find that awesome, I was never able to play all of them, like that surfing game.

  • I’d like to see a Kevin Butler sarcastic version of this ‘Been there, done that…’ video. I’d fall off my chair laughing. Kudos on the timing of this :)

  • @34: That would be awesome.

  • Having a PS Eye for PS home would be so awesome

  • Richard Marks, you are the man!! I loved the EyeToy when it came, the only problem of limitation was that it was too sensitive to the light around.. The marketing was also a BIG BIG issue with EyeToy cause some people today never heard of it, mostly when it’s an experience which is made to attract a lerger audience. It was a great experience and I am still playing it today, with all the EyeToy Play and Kinetics.. Really great experience and I’m looking forward to your next thing.

  • PS Eye in Home… Epic! make it happen sony!

  • Sony is clarifying that Kinect isn’t a novel idea. —12

  • Please guys make remakes of EyeToy games on the PS Store for the PS Eye.

  • Kinect! not that new of an idea

  • i want that psp2 phone dam it

  • The Eyetoy desensitized any interest I might have had to the Kinect, because I had already done this stuff half a decade ago. So I was more excited about what Richard Marks was doing this gen, and the Move has Delivered so far. Hopefully we get some interesting applications to the hardware. And it’s funny. That Kung Fu game that puts you in the game is actually more interesting than anything I have seen in Kinect, and it’s utilizing 2 year old hardware.

  • I remember playing EyeToy Play with my family and my grandparents. My grandmother actually tried to play that window-washing game with her rear. :P

  • Ahhhhh Tech Demos. I love just watching them but it always marvels me why they never appear on the PS Store. I’m sure quite a few techys would be interested in those downloads :D

  • @ 44 Sindred – EyeToy Play was released in the US in November of 2003 so 7 years old, infact :-D

    I have been saying all along that Kinect is just an updated EyeToy but I love how some are saying that the Move is a Wii rip off…didn’t you guys see the wand controllers with the HUGE spheres on the end of them in this EyeToy video. The controller that has evolved into the Move came from 2003 and on PS2. This predates the Wii by at least three years. While I’m sure some improvements were made after the Wiimote came out, I don’t think you can call the Move a Wii rip off since it was first.
    In fact, one of the only titles I would be interested in for the Kinect would be Sonic andguess what…it plays just like EyeToy Antigrav, which I loved.

  • Impeccable timing!! I love it!

    And I love my EyeToy and PS Eye! I just need to bite the bullet and get a Move controller already.

    There are just too many games coming out right now!

  • That video was so well made. Seriously, there’s so many little things inside that make it a “must watch” video.

    PS2 Kinetic… on the top of the pile… fantastic!

    It was more subtle than “pew pew” too :D

  • I’ve been saying for years the the Eyetoy and PS Eye had potential to change how gaming is. But even sony won’t take advantage of it, and no the Move is not the answer for it. For years we’ve seen flashes of brilliance with it (face mapping, which should be standard in games now)

    But sony walked away from the product for a long time. The move could clearly help the Eyetoy. NBA Games, Eyetoy could record your actual jumpshot for your character, and put it in as an option to us. Instead of using the default or susperstar shooting styles.

    Games like NHL have player cards, the Eyetoy could be used for that and yet, still not thought about. Imagine face mapping zombies in RE, then shooting them, would be a lot more fun.

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