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July 6, 2006
2 Min Read
In the latest round of its continuing legal and PR battle against Sony to get its proprietary rumble effects into the PlayStation 3 console, Immersion Corporation has commissioned a provocative public poll into PlayStation 3 rumble. The details of the survey, which is being advertised on video game-related sites including GamesIndustry.biz, include questions on the specific benefits of rumble effects in game controllers (choices include: "Makes the game more fun... Helps me play better (provides warnings, alerts, guidance)... Keeps me playing the game longer", and also asks: "Tell us what game(s) you play that just wouldn't be the same without rumble and why." The Immersion survey continues by asking what next-gen consoles the player intends to own, and the key question: "If rumble is removed from the PS3 console, your PlayStation or PS2 games also may not have vibration when played on the PS3. How would the lack of rumble in the whole console affect your decision to buy the PS3?" The choices given are: "I would definitely not purchase a PS3 without rumble, I would be more likely to purchase an Xbox 360 with rumble, I would be more likely to purchase a Wii with rumble, I would buy a PS3 anyway, but I'd be disappointed [and] It would not affect my decision at all." Immersion has built much of its business model on licensing wide-ranging patents related to rumble effects in controllers and litigating over other entities' use of the effect, and has previously settled a lawsuit with Microsoft over the issue in July 2003. However, a lawsuit with Sony over the rumble in PlayStation 2 controllers, which was preliminarily won back in September 2004, is still making its way through multiple appeals, and many have speculated that this is the reason for lack of rumble in PlayStation 3, despite Sony claims that hardware interference caused by its recently-announced gyroscopic controls are the actual cause. Now, it appears that Immersion is trying to force the issue and garner more revenue for its exceptionally wide-ranging patent by formally announcing TouchSense vibration technology for next-gen consoles, which twins tilt sensing and rumble effects. In relation to this, the firm is continuing to mount a PR offensive, both at a developer and consumer level, in an apparent attempt to build public pressure and force Sony to accede and settle the original PS2 lawsuit, then pay Immersion to integrate rumble effects into the PlayStation 3. However, it is as yet unclear whether Sony will necessarily submit to such relatively bold tactics.
About the Author(s)
Simon Carless is the founder of the GameDiscoverCo agency and creator of the popular GameDiscoverCo game discoverability newsletter. He consults with a number of PC/console publishers and developers, and was previously most known for his role helping to shape the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Conference for many years.
He is also an investor and advisor to UK indie game publisher No More Robots (Descenders, Hypnospace Outlaw), a previous publisher and editor-in-chief at both Gamasutra and Game Developer magazine, and sits on the board of the Video Game History Foundation.
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