E3 2012: Sony Online Entertainment Unveils New Tech that Puts Players in 'EverQuest II'
New facial and voice capture technology from Image Metrics will allow massively multiplayer online gamers to become their in-game avatars.
The online world and real world continue to blend. Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) will debut brand new facial and voice capture technology, dubbed SOEmote, at E3 2012 that will change the way massively multiplayer online (MMO) gamers interact in EverQuest II.
“This is the first time this technology has been applied to a real-time networked game,” said Dave Georgeson, director of development of SOE’s EverQuest franchise. “Additionally, we integrated Vivox’s Voice Font technology into the game so that players can change their transmitted voices. Most players use VOIP now (instead of text chatting) but not everyone is cut out to have the voice of a big fat troll or a sexy high elf princess. Voices are powerful tools for presenting character. Being able to change your voice lets you play your character in many new ways.”
SOE hopes this new technology boosts users for its EverQuest II game, which Georgeson said has more people playing it today than at any time in the last five years of its life span. Some of the game world was opened to a free-to-play model last December, although subscriptions are also available for the MMO.
The technology came about after SOE met with Image Metrics at E3 last year. Image Metrics has been developing real-time, player-driven animation systems for Hollywood for years. SOE is the first game company to utilize this technology.
Georgeson said the goal is to eventually incorporate this into all SOE games, but it will initially launch in EverQuest II.