Despite a serious lack of compatible software, Sony have managed to flog over 900,000 units of the PS4’s camera. With six million consoles sold, that means that nearly one in six PS4 owners have bought a camera. But why?
The camera has seen stock shortages in the US, with GameStop hiking up the price an extra $10 to around $70 to capitalize. In the UK most retailers have been selling the camera for an eye-watering £55 (that’s $90!). In something of a reversal, GameStop’s UK site have occasionally sold it for £40 (don’t have a rage US readers, that’s still about $65). But as far as I can tell, the only title that requires the camera to function is Just Dance 2014 or the freeware demo title The Playroom. So the question reamins, why does it continue to sell so well?
Some units will have been a part of a bundle, especially from cheeky retailers that only sell over-stuffed packages when faced with stock shortages around launch (“sorry buddy, you’re going to have to take Knack home too”). The rise of Twitch streaming on consoles could also be a factor as the addition of a camera allows you to broadcast your gameplay sessions with an image of you playing the game too, which is apparently what all the cool kids do nowadays. Twitch support so far hasn’t been much to shout about though as the picture quality has been poor and PS4 gamers have been unable to archive their broadcasts.
That’s about to change though as Sony announced yesterday that an upcoming patch would allow archiving and bump the resolution up to 720p, so perhaps we’re about to see demand increase again for the camera. The upcoming Project Morpheus Virtual Reality headset will require the camera to function, but that’s still some time off yet. But maybe there are some PS Move games on the way soon that will have us all eager to charge our long-dormant controllers for a ride on the PS4’s camera? Looking at the release schedule, they’re nowhere to be seen.
If I’m being brutally honest, you’d have to have more money than sense to pick up a PS4 camera at the moment, especially at the increased prices many retailers have been gouging gamers for. Keep your eyes out for a discounted one, or at least wait for E3 to see if Sony announce any decent Move-compatible titles or if they’re going to continue to half-ass it. They’re going to have to promise something special to get my money for the camera. Sports Champions 3 would be a good start though.