Polyphony Digital mastermind Kazunori Yamauchi has confirmed that the forthcoming Gran Turismo 5 features support for head-tracking via the PlayStation Eye camera accessory.
According to Gran Turismo resource GT Planet, the feature was first mooted on Polyphony's website during gamescom and was recently confirmed by Yamauchi during an interview with Italian gaming site MultiPlayer.it.
The head-tracking feature is restricted to the in-cockpit view within GT5. Employing facial recognition, the PlayStation Eye scans the position of your head and adjusts the viewpoint in the cockpit accordingly, effectively replacing the use of the right analogue stick on the DualShock 3. Your display stops being a flat 2D representation of a 3D world and effectively becomes an interactive window into the game experience.
Want to see how close your opponents are to catching up? Turn your head and look at the wing mirror. Want to see which gear you're using? Look down at the transmission and see for yourself as you would in a real car. Want to check out the racing line beyond the next corner? Look beyond the turn just like real drivers do.
To get some idea of how the display's perspective adjusts when head-tracking is in play, there's no better example than Johnny Lee's original YouTube video based on reverse use of the Wii remote's infra-red sensor. Sony's technology - assuming it works well, of course - goes far beyond this in taking infra-red out of the equation completely. Head-tracking looks set to be integral component of Project Natal to the point where the self-same Johnny Lee is now working under NDA with Microsoft, but the inclusion of the feature in Gran Turismo 5 will be the first time we've seen it deployed properly in a current-generation console game.
Going forward, it also has big implications for the forthcoming PS3 motion controller, which also works in conjunction with the existing PlayStation Eye accessory, suggesting that Sony's plans in this area go beyond using feedback from the "wand" alone...