It's time to play in a wonderfully new way – producer Nicolas Doucet takes us through the revolutionary augmented reality experience which comes pre-loaded on PS4.
Where did the original concept for The PlayRoom come from?
We were in Japan and had to make some tech demos to show off some of the PlayStation 4 system's features, such as the PlayStation Camera and the DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller. We ended up with a bunch of tech demos which combined these things, took the best ones and wrapped them into what is now The PlayRoom.
We wanted to create something open ended that had toy-like activities. We also wanted to give it a futuristic theme for a next generation feel.
Can you tell us a bit more about the team behind The PlayRoom?
It's mostly programming team members in Japan with different backgrounds - some came from Gravity Rush on PlayStation Vita, others from the Research and Development department and some from Shadow of the Colossus. We also integrated some of the artists from the WipEout team to give it that extra visual quality and nail down the whole futuristic theme. It's a very young team with lots of passion.
What was it like getting your hands on PS4 that early in the system's development?
The first time we had a prototype of the DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller, everything was different about it compared to how you see it now. We originally had a big PlayStation Move motion controller style orb hardwired to the end of it just so we had a LED that we could track to do things like the Genie demo - which ended up being the Asobi robot in The PlayRoom.
The great thing is that even though Sony Computer Entertainment is a huge company, there's still a grassroots, close-knit indie feeling at the heart of it. Certainly when it comes to things like The PlayRoom.
How has The PlayRoom been received during its testing phase?
It's been really popular! Especially with people who have a curious or playful mind. They find the surprises and have a giggle. I think the expectations of next gen systems are usually about great graphics, but for anyone unfamiliar with cutting edge technology and augmented reality, something like The PlayRoom can feel magical.
We were curious to see how it would be received, and people have enjoyed The PlayRoom and really got into the new interface.
What's your favourite game to play in The PlayRoom? And what did you enjoy creating the most?
It's got to be the AR Bots. They've got so much character! When making the games, all of the prototypes had these wonderful breakthrough moments, so they're all cool. That said, developing the AR Bots was brilliant to be part of. There's something about seeing them connected to you via your screen; it just suddenly comes to life. Even when they were just blocks made of cylinders, balls and squares they already felt alive. It was a new experience and I really enjoyed it.
The PlayRoom has been lovely to make. It's been about merging various parts of gaming technology that we like - like motion sensing capabilities and the Touch Pad - together into something unique. The thing that always blows me away is The PlayRoom's champagne spraying demo, where it feels like you have champagne inside of the DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller. With the Motion Sensor, vibration and the Mono Speaker it feels and sounds like there's liquid sloshing around the DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller.
What else on PS4 has impressed you?
I'm really looking forward to the possibilities of the SHARE button. There are lots of times when I get home and I want a gaming fix but I don't really have the time. I usually watch a trailer or someone play via YouTube, so I think the SHARE button will be my new way to enjoy games when time is an issue. I can imagine watching people play as much as playing games myself.
So what would you like to share right now?
I'd love to share what everybody has done with the champagne spraying demo of The PlayRoom!
Head over to eu.playstation.com/ps4/games and take a look at the games you'll playing and sharing soon - and be sure to keep reading eu.playstation.com for more exciting news on the innovative The PlayRoom, pre-loaded on PlayStation 4.