Your hairdresser knows everything about you. So does your shrink. Soon it could be your PlayStation. Sony executives are apparently looking to give game consoles abilities that go far beyond tracking your movements.
During a panel discussion on the next 10 years of gaming at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, last week, the executives described the possibility of consoles that track players' emotions. According to a transcript posted on Develop, Sony Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida said that within 10 years games will be able to offer "almost dangerous kinds of interactivity" with players.
A second participant, Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) Worldwide Studios Europe Vice President Mick Hocking, said cameras are capable of recording a player's biometric data and tracking where the player is looking. He elaborated on how Sony might be able to use this data. According to the transcript:
"In ten years' time I'd like to think we'll be able to form a map of the player, combining other sorts of sensory data together, from facial expressions to heart rate.
"Maybe people in their social network can comment on it," he said.
The technology has a lot of potential for gameplay. One possibility: a detective game that reads your face to determine if you're telling the truth, Hocking said. The Sony executives were cagey about whether they're developing such technology, however, saying only that they're doing lots of R&D.
The possibility of highly observant game consoles raises many questions, some of them uncomfortable: Will playing video games that track your emotions feel more like playing against people? And will you be able to handle it if a hunk of plastic and transistors pushes your buttons?