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Last week, I blogged about the way-coolness of the Eye Toy: the Playstation 2 peripheral that projects players into the action of a game. Now news comes from the Australian Financial Review that such controller-less gaming will play a big part in the Playstation 3, expected to be released in 2005. Phil Harrison, vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment, told the Australian Financial Review that the PS3 console will utilize motion sensors and digital cameras to create more sophisticated kinds of full-body games. “We’ll be able to extrapolate eye movement and gesture recognition, more complicated finger movement,” he said, comparing the experience to something out of the sci-fi film, Minority Report. He also hinted at some form of facial expression recognition software, so that a game could respond to, say, slack-jawed boredom. (You can also read about the announcement here.) Way cool, indeed.

VR-style wares have never really taken off in the past, but what’s different now is the elegance of this technology. I watched in awe as a four-year-old girl wiped “virtual” bubbles from the TV screen, just by jumping around in from the Eye Toy and swishing her hands. No instructions. No unwieldy controls. And no sloth. In fact, the game required so much physical activity that it tired her out. It’s the first time I’ve seen a gamer need to sit down.

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