Sony is trying to stay hot on Microsoft’s heels when it comes to next-generation gaming consoles. As the Xbox One was officially revealed and confirmed to be able to answer voice commands, PlayStation 4 will reportedly feature a speech recognition function.

This is a feature that has been available, in a more rudimentary form, on older consoles dating back to the 1980s, but it has not developed much in the meantime. Microsoft has been using it for its Kinect motion sensor detector, allowing Xbox users to pause or stop a game with a simple voice command. However, Sony’s PlayStation 3 has not used any voice control technology.

Sony Eyes PlayStation 4 Speech Recognition Feature

The Last of Us, out June 14 on PS3, will be the first game with the play while downloading feature.

This may change when the PlayStation 4 arrives. The rumors were started by a job advert on LinkedIn, for a intern in speech recognition engineering to join Sony Computer Entertainment America. Among the job requirements is experience in speech detection and recognition, speech noise reduction and grammar processing. This PlayStation 4 speech recognition feature would allow the console to detect the user’s voice even in a crowded, noisy room.

According to CNet, the feature may not actually be built into the PlayStation 4, but rather included in the PlayStation Eye camera for the gaming console. The camera was already rumored to be equipped with a four-channel microphone array. Sony has not yet commented on the rumors.

Play while downloading feature hits PS3

One of the most anticipated features of the PlayStation 4 will be the play while you download capacity. This feature allows gamers to start playing a title immediately, without having to wait for the entire game to finish downloading.

And if you feel you cannot wait until the PS4 is released for sale during the holiday season, we do have some good news. The feature will be available for PlayStation3 first, as early as next month.

The play while you download feature will arrive with the release of anticipated post-apocalyptic survival game The Last of Us, on June 14. Developers Naughty Dog said the game will be playable as soon as 50 percent of it has been downloaded. The other half will continue to download while you’re playing.

[Image via PlayStation magazine]