Will Sony bite the bullet and agree to cooperate?
If you pay any attention to the legal side of the video game industry, you no doubt already know about the simmering feud between Immersion and Sony. In September 2004, a federal judge awarded Immersion $90.7 million in a lawsuit claiming that Sony infringed on the company's rumble technology in its Dual Shock controller.
We speculated back in March that Sony may drop force feedback from the PlayStation 3 controller altogether, and in fact they did just that on the (frankly hard to believe) claim that it would interfere with the controller's new-found tilt technology. Today Immersion threw another hard right to Sony's already-battered face, announcing that it had developed new rumble technology fully compatible with tilt-sensitive controllers.
"Next-generation realistic sound and graphics are very impressive and help extend the illusion of the game," said Vic Viegas, Immersion CEO. "But to more closely emulate the real world and provide an even more immersive experience, you also need to engage the sense of touch. Gamers like vibration feedback in their console games today and have definitely come to expect it. Our new technology supplies a dramatic improvement in the action that gamers feel. We believe it is an innovation the market deserves to have in next-generation consoles."
Immersion goes on to explain exactly how it works...
The new TouchSense technology is compatible with motion control and tilt sensing that allow players to control certain game actions by moving or tilting a handheld controller. Because the speed at which a user moves the controller is much slower than the frequencies generated by TouchSense technology, the two signals can be differentiated using filtering and other techniques. Immersion also offers engineering services to implement the technology within a particular console system.
Will Sony grit its teeth and agree to work with the company (which incidentally is also now partially owned by Microsoft) to get rumble functionality in its PlayStation 3 controller, or is the video game giant already working on another solution? Either way it needs to be doing something, because without a rumble effect of any kind the controller seems like a step backward regardless of the tilt technology included. If nothing else, Immersion has dealt another blow to Sony by proving that it can be done (as if the Wii's controller didn't already), thus making Sony's excuse no longer a plausible one.
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