Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Review: Playstation Camera (PS4)

I hadn't planned on ever buying the PS4 camera. It was unbundled from the PS4 for good reason: the only reason for its existence was the fear that Microsoft's Kinect would take off, and Sony needed a good response in case that became the main way to use a game console. When Kinect became an obvious failure and no games supported it on the XBox, there were no games that required the PS4 camera either.  Of course, if you have plans to get PSVR or you do live-streaming (neither of which appeals to me), the PS4 Camera would be essential.

What drove me was Just Dance. I first bought versions of Just Dance for the PS3, which were about $5 each. It turned out that my wife liked the game, and played it a lot, but complained about having to hold the move controller in one hand for scoring purposes. Versions of Just Dance for the Kinect wouldn't need the controller, but I wasn't about to switch platforms just for one game. I did some research, and discovered the Just Dance for the PS4 with a Playstation Camera wouldn't need you to hold a controller!

There was a sale over the holiday season so I managed to pick up a camera for $30. Just Dance 2015 could be had around $20, and we'd be in business. In practice, Just Dance's action pick up doesn't seem very sensitive (which is probably a good thing). Basically,  if you flail around in the general direction you'd score correctly. My wife was very unimpressed when I could score as high as she did, since she's obviously a much better dancer. (I couldn't deny it simply because after each song the game shows you a video record of you flailing around trying to score) But she did appreciate not having to have anything in her hand.

The game does do a good job of making you move. My step-counter would run up about 500 steps per song, which is about right. My HR would go up as well, indicating that the Vivoactive HR is only accurate for people who aren't cycling.

What surprised me was that the PS Camera got used by Bowen for the free app that came with every playstation: Playroom. Bowen never seems to get sick of the AR Robot, and the companion app that lets you draw an object and then send it into the augmented reality view of the room was just as addictive to him as having paper and crayons.

For the standard price of $60, the PS4 Camera is pretty poor value (though you can get it as part of the bundle for PSVR), but at discounted prices it's reasonable.

Mildly recommended.
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