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Sony to roll out SOEmote Facial-Recognition Technology at E3

E3 2012 is just days away - the show officially begins on Tuesday, 5 June - which means that the eyes of the collective gaming universe will be focused on the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Games, consoles (no PS4 though), accessories, and services will naturally be the hot topics, but Sony Online Entertainment will showcase a new technology known as SOEmote.

The company today lifted the curtains on SOEmote, a new Sony-exclusive facial animation and audio masking technology for EverQuest II. Yes, the eight-year-old EverQuest II. SOEmote uses players' webcams to capture facial animations to animate their in-game avatar in real time and to alter their voices.

For example, if you blink, your Kerra (or other EverQuest II race) blinks. If you turn your head, your Kerra turns its head. SOEmote also disguises your voice in real time, so if you decide to speak into your computer's microphone, the software alters your voice to sound like a dwarf, froglok, or other EverQuest II race. That's an impressive feat for a game that's nearly a decade old.

SOEmote's facial-recognition software is created by Image Metrics, a leader in 3D facial animation. Vivox's Voice Font technology powers the voice-masking.

SOEmote represents the first time that this facial-recognition and voice-altering technology combination has been applied to a real-time, networked MMO (massively multiplayer online) game.