Tucked away in a corner at E3 was a hands-on demo for The PlayRoom, a PlayStation 4 augmented reality tech demo that shows what’s inside a DualShock 4. I thought the controller was made out of motors and circuit boards, but in The PlayRoom the controller is filled with little tiny robots.
You can fire a robot called Asobi (Japanese for “play”) out of the controller and it will fly around your room. The PlayStation Eye shows the player and your living room on screen with Asobi super imposed on it. You can interact with Asobi by hitting it, but Asobi will get upset and retaliate by freezing your head or electrocuting you. Not in real life, of course, but on the screen. You can remove the ice by shaking your head.
The PlayRoom has another tech demo called AR Bots, which lets players flick robots out of the DualShock 4 by swiping the touchpad. Bots will run around and play in your living room. You can create toys for them to play with by using a tablet. The tech demo had preset items like a beach ball that you can add to the screen. I also drew items by making shapes on the tablet, which transformed my 2D drawings into 3D objects.
AR Bots also demoed the DualShock 4’s motion controls when you vacuum the little robots up by moving the controller around the screen.
The robots dance when they’re inside your controller, but you have to hold the controller still. Shaking it moves the robots around. Turn the controller upside down, and you can hear the robots make shout “whoaaaa” through the DualShock 4’s microphone. You can also “feel” the robots moving up and down since the DualShock 4 activates motors at different times to give players the illusion that the robots are living inside.
The PlayRoom was a neat experiment, but it isn’t a game. Perhaps, Sony Computer Entertainment will use some of this tech for a future title like a next-gen LittleBigPlanet or a game that utilizes the PlayStation Eye, because The PlayRoom was the only game at E3 that really utilizes the accessory.