Comments made by SCEE vice president Phil Harrison in an interview with the Australian Financial Review suggest that a more advanced version of the EyeToy motion sensor is being considered for PlayStation 3.
Speaking to the business publication, Harrison stated that Sony is investigating the integration of a motion sensing device into its next console, and suggested that the existing EyeToy was a preliminary test for the technology.
"EyeToy was a signpost for things in the future," enthused Harrison. "If you can attach very high-resolution, low-cost video cameras you can deduce some quite interesting things about their users. We'll be able to extrapolate eye movement and gestural recognition, more complicated finger movement, and the logical next step of that is to deduce from a person's facial expression and demeanour what their emotion state is."
Harrison also discussed the possibility of the new console sporting a menu system which was entirely driven by hand gestures, comparing it to the computer system used by Tom Cruise's character in the movie Minority Report.
Although there's no guarantee that a motion capture camera will be integrated into the PS3 hardware, it seems like a logical move for Sony on a number of levels. As well as opening up new gameplay possibilities, and scaling down the importance of the joypad interface - often seen as a barrier to more mainstream acceptance of gaming as a pastime - it would offer a number of other benefits to the console.
For example, online multiplayer games - an area which Sony is sure to promote strongly on the PS3 - could use the feed from the camera for in-game message windows, allowing you to see your opponents and teammates as well as hear them. Although there are obvious privacy and security issues with such an approach, it's not hard to envisage video cameras being to the next generation of consoles what voice headsets are to the current generation - and Sony would certainly gain a headstart in this area by including one with the console hardware itself.