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Sony $50 Motion Camera EyeToy Device Due Nov. 4

5 Oct, 2003 By: John Gaudiosi

Sony expects to sell 1 million units of its $50 EyeToy device for PlayStation 2 this fall in the United States. More than 350,000 devices will be available at launch Nov. 4. The motion-camera device sits on top of a TV and lets a player standing in front of it interact with images on screen. Even the interface is driven by virtually pressing a button in the air.

Since July's U.K. launch, Sony has sold more than 1 million units of the popular party gadget. EyeToy creator Dr. Richard Marks of Sony's Foster City, Calif., studio, which invented the technology, said the device is introducing a new audience to gaming. “Think of it as a toy or a screensaver that anyone can walk up to and enjoy,” Marks said.

EyeToy ships with 12 games that allow the player to wash dirty windows virtually (it doesn't sound fun, but it is), kung-fu fight attacking ninjas or pop virtual balloons. The games are simple enough for an adult who's never picked up a controller to use.

Sony EVP Andrew House said EyeToy “will be an umbrella brand that will have a portfolio of content from dance games to action games.” Developers are already working on new ways to integrate the EyeToy into traditional controller-based games. He said that there are 15 third-party games that use the Sony headset, which allows players to chat online while playing games or speak directly to in-game characters, and that EyeToy will follow a similar model.

Marks demonstrated a prototype first-person shooter in which all the character movements were controller-driven, except for the ability to peer around corners, which one could do by moving one's head right or left -- something gamers traditionally do anyway as they become immersed in the game.

“Think of the way Minority Report allowed characters to seek out information virtually and you have an idea of where EyeToy can go in the future,” Marks said. “In a hoverboard game, you could control the onscreen character by moving your body right or left. Hand gestures could cast spells in a fantasy game. The possibilities are endless.”

EyeToy also comes equipped with a microphone and allows players to record video clips. Once connected to the network, Marks said that video clips will be able to be sent from PS2 to PS2 or PS2 to PC.

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