In Pictures: Making friends with the Sony EyePet

EyePet steals show (and hearts) at Sony's Secret Garden media event

  • In Pictures: Making friends with the Sony EyePet

    Mark our words: the Sony EyePet is going to be big. And when we say big, we mean BIG (think Hurley out of Lost and you're halfway there). Like Nintendogs and Tamagotchi before it, Sony’s latest [[artnid:197550|EyeToy|Review: PlayStation Eye]] innovation appeals to anyone who has ever stared wistfully into a pet store window (i.e. - nearly everyone). In essence, it's a virtual pet that you interact and play with on screen. Spend a few minutes with the EyePet and you’ll feel an overwhelming desire to adopt one. It's just so wondrously, devastatingly adorable that it's impossible not to fall in love.

    We managed to get some hands on time with the EyePet at Sony’s [[artnid:318741|'Secret Garden' media event|Sony unveils top-secret VAIO notebook at the Secret Garden]] at [[artnid:318744|Sun Studios, Sydney|In pictures: Sony VAIO X series notebook]]. Despite being flanked by fully playable Uncharted 2 displays, the EyePet drew the biggest crowd. Never underestimate the power of 'cute'! Check out the rest of the slideshow to see the EyePet in action. (Just try to keep the delighted cooing sounds to a minimum).
  • As its name implies, the EyePet uses Sony's [[artnid:197550|PlayStation Eye|Review: PlayStation Eye]] peripheral; the successor to the PlayStation 2's [[artnid:306760|popular EyeToy gadget|Should Nintendo take credit for motion control in gaming?]].

  • All together now: Awwwwww! Cute little blighter, isn't it? As a staunch heterosexual male, I’m unashamed to admit that I love its lickle-ickle face to bits.

  • The PlayStation Eye's inbuilt camera allows players to appear on screen with their EyePet. Naturally, this translates to deeper and more complex interactions in-game.

  • SCE Australia’s software product manager Gary Russell (pictured right), walked us through the EyePet experience. To the left, you can see the EyePet Magic Card, which is used to trigger certain events and interactions in the game.

  • The PlayStation Eye has been programmed to track the Magic Card’s shape and colour. It’s essentially a small sheet of durable plastic with a stand built into the back.

  • One of the EyePet's biggest draw cards is the high level of customisation. You can shave, paint, dress up and coif your virtual pet to match your heart's desire.

  • We decided to give our EyePet a fetching smurf paintjob.

  • There's a huge selection of outfits and accessories to choose from -- from floral dresses to black skivvies.

  • Awww. If Smurfette and a Furby doll had a love child together, it would look a bit like this.

  • We then added a cutesy-pie floral hat and dubbed our pet Flower. By this point, we were beginning to doubt our sexuality a bit. (And loving every minute of it).

  • With our EyePet dressed to the nines, we checked out a few of the mini-games on offer. Selections are made using your hands, with cool little holograms hovering above the Magic Card. It's like Minority Report, but cuter.

  • We challenged our EyePet to a game of tennis, using the Magic Card is a racquet. It's not nearly as sophisticated as [[artnid:312328|Wii Sports|Review: Wii Sports Resort]], but it remained pretty fun nonetheless. (Naturally, our furry opponent's boundless enthusiasm made the match twice as enjoyable.)

  • In this screen, we're using the Magic Card to give our EyePet a shower. The TV screen fogs up with steam realistically, which is a nice touch.
  • Once we had washed our EyePet free of sweat and grit, we fluffed him up to give him a coat of suds. It's all very reminiscent of Nintendogs.

  • Reverse shot of previous slide.

  • Now here's where the EyePet gets interesting. The game let's you draw objects which then appear in the game as 3D models. Your EyePet can then interact with your creations and you can even control them with the PlayStation 3 controller. How cool is that?

  • Here, Gary Russell is holding up a picture of a car he drew for the PlayStation Eye to scan.

  • Reverse shot of previous slide.

  • A few seconds later, and a scan of the image appears in game.

  • The Sony EyePet will be available "before Christmas" with an Australian RRP of $79.95 (this includes the EyePet software, Magic Card and PlayStation Eye peripheral).

  • The EyePet looks especially pleased with its new toy -- and why shouldn't he?

  • The software will recognise pretty much any drawing with wheels, including the tank depicted here. (We foresee lots of dong-shaped cars being culled from the PlayStation Share Network in the foreseeable future.)

  • Here we are driving around Russell's car as the EyePet looks on happily. The whole process, from sketch to playable car, only took a few minutes.
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