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From EyeToy to NGP: PlayStation’s Augmented Reality Legacy

Al De Leon's Avatar + Posted by Al De Leon on Apr 08, 2011 // Sr. PR Manager, SCEA

Augmented reality is a concept that’s starting to get a lot of buzz so we wanted to take a minute to break down our history with the technology and provide a sneak peak at what could be next. There’s a popular misconception that augmented reality is just “kid’s stuff,” but with more than eight years of experience under our belt, we’ve found there’s a wide variety of compelling and cool AR experiences that everyone can enjoy. We spoke to some of our resident experts from Sony Computer Entertainment R&D and Product Development to get their take on augmented reality through our platforms.

Back in 2003, when smartphones, tablet PCs, and even decent webcams were far from mainstream, we launched EyeToy on PlayStation 2, which included our first foray into augmented reality. Back then it was the only way to see yourself on-screen interacting with virtual objects in real-time. We then brought that unique experience to a portable level on PSP. With games such as Invizimals or EyePet , mobility was a key element as the PSP camera turned the entire world around you into a game.

PlayStation 3 gave us a significant leap in image processing and, coupled with PlayStation Eye, enabled AR games such as The Eye of Judgment. Last year’s launch of PlayStation Move on PS3 brought titles like EyePet and Start the Party, which added ultra-precise movement recognition to the augmented reality experience, enabling you to interact with virtual objects on-screen using the PS Move motion controller.

We’re no stranger to innovation and every so often we’re able to create an experience that changes the way you think about games. At this year’s Game Developers Conference , we showed off demos of augmented reality on NGP—our Next Generation Portable device . NGP builds on our experience with augmented reality over the years with PlayStation 2/EyeToy, PSP, and PS3/PlayStation Move. With front and rear cameras that combine real-time images of you and your environment, a brilliant 5-inch multi-touch OLED screen and rear multi-touch pad, internal motion sensors, and dual analog sticks, NGP offers new ways to interact that will change the way you think about augmented reality games… and possibly even change the way you think about reality.

What do you think about augmented reality? Do you have an idea for the next killer app for augmented reality? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

//Add Your Own

89 Comments   5 Replies

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+ nino1911 on April 8th, 2011 at 9:36 am said:

I cant go to the homepage :/


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+ SOOPERGOOMAN187 on April 8th, 2011 at 9:41 am said:

That thing is Sexy, it would be great to have an ar game that takes common street signage and turns them into characters within a Hunting style game. Call it “Signimals” or something. You run around your city collecting the signs that would turn into creatures based on their respective shapes and meaning. Take a Yeild sign, that would be a slow moving cautious creature that blends into it’s surrounding and a Merg sign could be a camo’d creature. A stop sign would be a mini boss and a do not enter sign could be a boss. A cul de sac sign could be a teleportation hub to goto other lands( which would just change the types of Signimals in the game). see hit game right there, Can I have a job now? and first.


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    + Al De Leon on April 8th, 2011 at 3:59 pm said:

    Cool idea!


3

+ G-Force08 on April 8th, 2011 at 9:42 am said:

AR has always been iffy for me. Don’t get me wrong, the technology and concept is pretty cool. My problem is, there have not been many AR games/programs that have really pulled me in or captured my attention. Now, this doesn’t mean I haven’t enjoyed AR games here and there on my PSP and PS3 (I do own a few such as aforementioned Start The Party), but they just are not something that I gravitate towards.

I’m hoping the NGP will change that for me as the technology has so much potential but is not being really executed well in my opinion, from what I have seen.

It’s still cool to look at how Sony has been spearheading these things though, pushing tech and innovation constantly. I hope to see some great things coming in the future relating to augmented reality. :)


4

+ pitythefool852 on April 8th, 2011 at 9:48 am said:

Ever since the NGP was announced, I’ve been thinking that augmented reality treasure hunts would be great.

You could follow clues, and find the “treasure” based on the GPS signal.

The “treasure” could be a life-size Nathan Drake “augmented” outside of Gamestop, or a Killzone dropship hovering in the sky above you… followed by a free avatar or some DLC sent to your PSN account

Sorry, just dreaming out loud here


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+ SOOPERGOOMAN187 on April 8th, 2011 at 9:50 am said:

@ pitythefool852 Dont ever be sorry for dreaming out loud, its how the best games get created and dreams realized. Also dont I see you on Home abunch?


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+ SOOPERGOOMAN187 on April 8th, 2011 at 9:52 am said:

Im thinking about gettin an AR tattoo.


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+ utopianacht on April 8th, 2011 at 9:53 am said:

sony should release some dlc for start the party.. and some of those tech demos should become available for regular users to download them.. just for fun…


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+ JaguarCRO on April 8th, 2011 at 9:56 am said:

I can’t wait to see what they show with AR on NGP during E3. :-)


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+ pitythefool852 on April 8th, 2011 at 9:59 am said:

@SOOPERGOOMAN187 Not unless you’re on Hong Kong Home… I’ve never been on US Home :( Thanks for your kind words, though

Back to the video… that puppet demo was very cool… not only that, but it looked very very easy to use too.

It would be great if there were a PlayStation Move machinima creator where we could control puppets (Sackboy – Kratos… all first-party dudes) using Move puppeteering, add voiceovers, and then use Move as to control the camera too.

I can’t imagine a more intuitive way of making our own silly machinima-style videos.


10

+ Neil on April 8th, 2011 at 9:59 am said:

I love the AR games on the 3DS so I’m looking forward to more AR games on the PS3 and NGP.


11

+ spatsnaz on April 8th, 2011 at 10:02 am said:

I want an NGP sooo bad.


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+ polo155 on April 8th, 2011 at 10:02 am said:

Since im dying for my NGP already and i am a car fanatic maybe an app something like for when you are outside: id like to have to identify specific cars and as you find them you get some facts on it?!

Another one, like when you buy a game or a sony item you cn scan it and get some sort of points towards a free game or any certain item of sony or there business partners ie anything from electronics to Subways and Slupies to The Schick items for home.

Lets not forget the Skype app for video chat and text chat, LocationFree Player software


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+ pitythefool852 on April 8th, 2011 at 10:02 am said:

@utopianacht

Agreed. Start the Party has been in need of DLC since launch.

At the very least, it needs simultaneous multiplayer. A lot of the challenges would be much more fun and frantic if you were playing alongside someone else


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+ polo155 on April 8th, 2011 at 10:07 am said:

Im buying the NGP the instant it comes out! And i want the contiuous connection one with 3G!


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+ Questworld12 on April 8th, 2011 at 10:14 am said:

The NGP is portable so it would seen you guys could put some AR codes on covers of the NGP games or the Playstation 3 games that could unlock some trophies.
You also could have some NGP AR cards to download the game or some type of extras.


16

+ Conrad_Max on April 8th, 2011 at 10:18 am said:

Wow! Things just keep getting better and better.


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+ harpdevil on April 8th, 2011 at 10:30 am said:

Looking at how people are using the 3DS, it seems that the 3D is fun for a time but gets turned off soon and stays off. People really seem to get a kick out of the AR stuff though, even though they’re mostly tech demos.

So that’s why I’m really looking forward to seeing what all the extra power of the NGP can do with this kind of tech. That fighter game looks really clever, maybe something like that using the ‘Create.Share.Play.’ branding – design your own fighter, swap creations with friends, fight and train them with RPG, pokemon-type elements.


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    + Al De Leon on April 8th, 2011 at 4:01 pm said:

    I’m glad you see the potential with NGP…the various ways to interact will give developers some great tools for creating new experiences.


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+ gillettjoe on April 8th, 2011 at 10:34 am said:

I think Karl Pilkington should re-do the voice-over on the commercials for this.

“Sony NGP; I wouldn’t want it, but you might.”


19

+ alok893 on April 8th, 2011 at 10:45 am said:

Yes these guys r the Experts!


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+ JumpMan33 on April 8th, 2011 at 10:46 am said:

Eye of Judgment 2 for the NGP Plz.


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+ SSJStarwind16 on April 8th, 2011 at 10:46 am said:

I like that treasure hunt idea,but with GPS and being an avid geocacher I would love to see the new tech used to get us outside in our neighborhoods treasure hunting. AR could be used as well with AR Cards to mark caches or to give clues (this would have to be a community undertaking) I see tons of possibilities I am uber excited for the NGP!!


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+ Teraphas on April 8th, 2011 at 10:48 am said:

So I have fun with the Move as long as its not AR. That is simply because the Eye is so low res, I have sharp he animations layered on a grainy feed. Now the eye works great don’t get me wrong, just if you want to push more AR content you may want to consider releasing an optional hi res Eye. I know I would be likely to pick it up.

As for a game idea give us a head mounted camera and then on a table have your interface like a virtual keyboard. Would love a tower defense(or a mushroom wars upgrade) where I would seemingly reach to manipulate my towers


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+ hanyPS on April 8th, 2011 at 10:59 am said:

i think this video is made to say to Nintendo “F*** you”.


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+ arnoldmcguire335 on April 8th, 2011 at 11:11 am said:

This is a great thing, how about a Time Crisis-esque game for the NGP, where you run around shooting enemies with the R trigger and the camera pointing the enemies? sounds like a great collab for SCE and Namco Bandai.


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+ kivi95 on April 8th, 2011 at 11:12 am said:

Sony should have made a patent on this so Nintendo wouln’t have it on the 3DS because everyone will say that sony stole their idea.


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+ FATHASUN on April 8th, 2011 at 11:19 am said:

I have an idea for a game. Where do I go to submit it to Sony. I wish to be a part of the creation process. It can be very big with AR technology and the NGP. Can someone point me in the right direction.


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+ perrandy on April 8th, 2011 at 11:52 am said:

nice advertising! the ngp seems to be cutting edge no doubt about that!
but the only things that concerns me is the price and suport.i dont want to see this thing to go the way the pspgo….


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+ boxmyth on April 8th, 2011 at 11:59 am said:

I love the potential of walking down a city street and seeing all the restaurants and menus on an AR display, but AR gaming is potentially the sweetest thing AR can bring to the world.

An AR version of Portal needs to happen asap.


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+ TapDatApp on April 8th, 2011 at 12:00 pm said:

That’s awesome! I’ve always been really fascinated by Augmented Reality and I definitely think eliminating the AR Cards was the right “next step” in perfecting the technology. Definitely looking forward to the Next Generation Portable device!


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+ mightyplay on April 8th, 2011 at 12:14 pm said:

pleases just do more with the PlayStation move i have collected all the pieces two nav controllers the sharpshooter two move controller and i see almost no reason yo own all of these i look forward to Sony innovation you guys all ways bring creative way to play but long term investments are getting old i prefer tech that has software to back it. not to say you haven’t done well so far but i mostly used my move for the fight killzone while the line up is good the implementation has been so so like in first person shooters you should allow face tracking to control camera while the thumb stick does movement and orb tracking for aim really simple fix for all camera issues in first person view


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+ Justp94 on April 8th, 2011 at 12:25 pm said:

The next step is to release a 720p – 1080p High Definition version of PlayStation Eye for around $70-80? :) Because the regular PS Eye has HORRIBLE, I mean HORRIBLE quality.


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+ KazeEternal on April 8th, 2011 at 12:40 pm said:

Here’s an idea for augmented reality…. try not to make boring games with it… in fact just forget it exists.


33

+ usedtoiletpaper on April 8th, 2011 at 12:44 pm said:

So in the NGP Little Big Planet we can really use the pictures we take as materials or just as stickers?


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    + Al De Leon on April 8th, 2011 at 4:04 pm said:

    You’ll have to stay tuned for more info on LBP.


34

+ Curtisio on April 8th, 2011 at 1:16 pm said:

I’d like to see something like the player can draw on paper, which the camera would pick up, and make something, like a maze or platforms the player’s charecter can run though or use in some way.


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+ Teraphas on April 8th, 2011 at 1:41 pm said:

Biggest thing is ar games need to be less obvious. For example as cool as a game that could tell open sky from objects on the skyline and have alien ships appear from behind buildings and trees would be, most of us would be to embarrassed to spin around in public pointing the console at open air. But a ar game that let’s you ‘collect’ while in public with pictures or quick scans and then you go back to playing as normal would have broader appeal

As for a ngp game what I would like to see is a ccg with the old monster rancher generator. Take a look at the goggles app from google, image recognition. Now take a concept of every item in the world has a ‘spirit’ and you use you ngp to scan items and images to gather these spirits and duel others in a more magic setting than a Pokemon monster brawl.

Scan a leaf get a nature spirit scan a logo get and urban spirit etc. But would open to potential marketing revenue example Pepsi has a new drink, advertise a limited edition spirit if you scan the logo before a certain date.


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+ OveReAction on April 8th, 2011 at 2:56 pm said:

And that, my friends, is how the PlayStation has more of the advanced cameras than Xbox’s only advanced camera, Kinect. (XLV isn’t advanced. Nothing but just webcam-y.)


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+ ThreeLeggedFreak on April 8th, 2011 at 3:00 pm said:

A horror game could work well with it somehow, especially with the front facing camera, you’re playing Siren 3 and all of a sudden you see your face and a monster behind you, with your room or whatever you are as the background.


38

+ D-Squad3 on April 8th, 2011 at 3:13 pm said:

Are those Cameras for the PSP even available here in the US in retail stores? I don’t think they are and that’s pretty sad.


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    + Al De Leon on April 8th, 2011 at 4:05 pm said:

    Yes, the cameras are bundled with Invizimals and EyePet PSP.


39

+ Kamino_3 on April 8th, 2011 at 3:21 pm said:

Great video, great article. Sony, you guys have advanced in technology so much its amazing. I’m plan on standing by yous guys.


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    + Al De Leon on April 8th, 2011 at 4:10 pm said:

    Thanks for the continued support, Kamino_3!


40

+ djspinal on April 8th, 2011 at 4:48 pm said:

roadtrip from detroit 2 texas in the moanin! cant wait 2 dig out my PSi


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+ fuzzyclutter on April 8th, 2011 at 5:06 pm said:

Now AR just has to be successfully implemented into a Highly playable , CHALLENGING game , because i would have to agree with kaze … atleast just a bit … while AR has added plenty of ” OH WOW !!! ” It has not added much to compelling gameplay particularly for more expierienced gamers.


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+ Wilsonvolley on April 8th, 2011 at 5:40 pm said:

I thought people had to pay Apple a residual every time they referred to consumer electronic products with such hyperbolic adjectives as “magical”. I kid, I kid.
This augmented reality stuff does look very interesting and it was cool seeing its evolution to the current form in the Playstation brand. I look forward to seeing/hearing more about the NGP at E3.


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+ iTofuMan on April 8th, 2011 at 5:56 pm said:

Personally as someone who has a 3ds. AR isnt anything special. i honestly hope the NGP doesnt have gimmick feature to boost up sales. i liked the psp because it did what it said it would do. Play Psp games!

The sad thing is i bet this work this and any other gimmick they can use on the NGP and put it in. thus making it cost 500$+ Personally i really hope before this hit you at least treat people who bought the psp (mainly psp go users) greatly. what i mean by this is actually release good games on the psn.

Seriously games like Crisis Core, Final Fantasy Tactics, Phantasy Star Portable 1, etc are still out on the Psn. and reasons arent giving to use thus leaving us in the dark with things. i can contacted a lot of Companies to see what was up and they basically heard nothing from you (Sony).

I honestly have my doubts for the NGP. it seems promising, but if its any indication of how you have been treating us Psp users the NGP wont last long. we psp users have been neglected for too long, and i doubt youll change your ways.


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+ ElektroDragon on April 8th, 2011 at 6:52 pm said:

Oh Sony gods, I pray that the NGP can still arrive in North America THIS year!


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+ ElektroDragon on April 8th, 2011 at 6:55 pm said:

I have an idea you can use freely: In any NGP game with pets, you can pet your pet by rubbing/stroking the back of the NGP.


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+ whoSHOTya_562 on April 8th, 2011 at 9:45 pm said:

finally something good


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+ jose213jose on April 8th, 2011 at 10:56 pm said:

i hope the NGP better know as PSP2 comes out soon so i can get my hands on it. I love how its designs and what it has under its hood. I own both PS3 & PSP3000 core with PSPGo and i want to add to my collection is the NGP next. Hardware in it is very cool hope too and i hope it comes out more quick i can’t wait so long but i’ll try. I save up on alot $ this year.N VG card can hold 2 or 4 GB’s so far is cool but will the system have built in GB’s or something so you can save photo shots and other things?


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+ jose213jose on April 8th, 2011 at 11:46 pm said:

2GHz because the battery would last five minutes and it would probably set fire to your pants u guys at sony should know u can fix it with easy just out in more powerful battery to last up to weeks maybe like 2 whole days at 2ghs. if u are retail and digital distribution of games then u should add more games to it like make all the old psp games as download & take PSP disc back as download version which is way more better. how about 3D NGP then 3G in it. Anyway its still good system hope to design my own system like the NGP or PS3 when my company gets big :)


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+ jose213jose on April 8th, 2011 at 11:49 pm said:

wait it comes out in Q4 u mean winter or something but now it can get push back :( shoot, i pray it comes out still. really want to get my hands on it really bad


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+ Enigma777 on April 9th, 2011 at 12:45 am said:

Not really a fan of augmented reality personally. .


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