SLIDESHOW

Making Friends With Sony EyePet

Sony's virtual pet is an adorable creature that's actually pretty cool, too.

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 EyeToy 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 'Secret Garden' media event at Sun Studios, Sydney. 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).

Sony PlayStation Eye

As its name implies, the EyePet uses Sony's PlayStation Eye peripheral; the successor to the PlayStation 2's popular EyeToy gadget.

So cute

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.

Together, on screen

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.

Magic Card

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.

Customize to your heart's content

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.

Holograms

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.

Tennis, anyone?

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

Shower time

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.

Fluffing him up

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.

Another view

Reverse shot of previous slide.

Draw your own objects

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?

And there it is

The PlayStation Eye scans the drawing, and a few seconds later, and a scan of the image appears in game.

Looks good

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

Going for a drive

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

Coming soon

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). It will be released in the U.S. on November 17 in two versions: $39.99 (game only) or $59.99 (game and PlayStation Eye peripheral).