Do PS3 owners want a Third Eye?

Sony unveiled a rather fugly PS3 camera yesterday coupled with a top-heavy noise-reducing microphone.

The press release promises the device “will enable gamers to enjoy their [PS3] like never before.” Will it? We won’t know for sure until its release this summer for an undisclosed price. But one thing’s for sure; we have seen something like this before. It was Sony’s marginally successful EyeToy for PS2, the Eye’s predecessor.

While the new video chat attachment eliminates the need for a headset, what happens to speech-recognition performance when playing games alongside a loud home audio system? And even though PlayStation Eye has double the video fidelity of Xbox’s Live Vision cam at 640×480 resolution (60 frames/second), it’s hardly enough to match Sony’s 1080p graphics.

“Beyond audio/video chat and the ability to save videos to your PS3 hard drive, PlayStation Eye opens up a whole new world of entertainment options and adds a new dimensions to games across multiple genres,” continued Sony in the same presser. While the last point remains to be seen, do PS3 owners really want to edit and store videos and photos using the bundled software, something they can already effectively do on a desktop?

Every little value-add option is nice, don’t get us wrong. But this device seems underwhelming for a console that needs something a little buzzier to grab both current and prospective owners.