This is augmented reality, but not as you know it.

Usually, AR in video games is a tedious gimmick, reliant on either incredibly simple, overlaid images or specially-made cards being placed in specially-designated positions. But Sony's PlayStation Vita can now do proper, three-dimensional AR all on its own. No tricks, no cards. All it needs is its camera and the real world.


In this video, shot at the Game Developers Conference, a prototype piece of software called Magnet is shown to Kotaku's Stephen Totilo. The Vita is pointed at a rug, the Vita marks positions on the rug to get its bearings, then bam, there's ducks. Rendered, and viewed through the screen appearing as though they're actually sitting right there, in the real world.

Sony calls it "markerless augmented reality". How well this could actually work in the real world, running proper games (as in, beyond a basic version of Pong), is anyone's guess. Tech like this always tends to wow on the showroom floor then disappoint later. But as an idea, one that could make excellent use of the Vita's camera and glorious screen, it's a promising one.


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