When Sony first announced the PlayStation 4 back in February, amongst all of the talk of games and hardware one of the announcements was the inclusion of the PlayStation Eye with the system along with the ability to use the next Dualshock as a Move controller. Fast forward to their E3 press conference in June, where there was almost no mention of the PlayStation Eye or the potential to use the controller for Move. What was was being talked about was the $399 price point of the system, $100 cheaper than the Xbox One. According to a report from IGN, that price cut came at the cost of the PlayStation Eye.
In the process of axing the Eye, Sony has taken a step backwards into the inclusion of the product in future games. In the Xbox One’s case, a Kinect sensor is included in the bundle, and it’s necessary for the system to run. That means developers can include Kinect support for any of their games knowing that every single Xbox One will have that capability. With the now separate PlayStation Eye, there is no such guarantee for developer. Any Eye content would either be relegated to the small population of gamers that buy the add on, or have to be optional the way current “Better with Kinect” or “Move Capable” games are.
For the time being, Sony has gained a lot of support for the cheaper price point of the PS4. The sacrifice made to bring about a price that low may end up shooting one of the console’s major features in the foot. In Drive Club, for example, one of the announced features involved using the Move functionality of the controller to allow players to switch places on the couch and have their split-screens switch with them. Now, instead of being one of the primary features of the game, it will be an extra relegated to those who buy the Eye. On the other hand, if Crytek wanted to include some sort of Kinect functionality into their Xbox One game Ryse: Son of Rome, they could design it into the game knowing that every person playing the game would have access to the feature.
In the short run, the $100 price difference between consoles may pay out in sales for the PS4, but the exclusion of the PlayStation Eye may see one of the console’s biggest assets fall by the wayside. Now there are rumors that Sony may indeed release a bundle that includes the PS4, the new PlayStation Eye, and Knack, possiblly for $499. Even if that is a popular bundle, it still means that not every PS4 owner will have an Eye — so developers will be less likely to support it.