Playstatic has previously reported on the likelihood of the PlayStation 3’s Sixaxis controller gaining rumble technology in order to satiate the demands on both consumers and developers, but now it could indeed be an actual reality.
According to a report over on Inner Bits, Sony has long since signed a new licensing deal with Immersion after settling the lawsuit between the two companies out of court. When Gran Turismo HD was released, complete with an update that gave it rumble feedback via a number of steering wheel accessories, people presumed this would be the last step before the Sixaxis Rumble was launched. However, most failed to realise that Third Party steering wheel companies have already licensed Immersion’s technology, so this was completely unrelated to Sony’s plans…if any plans even existed.
Inner Bits goes on to state:
“Many have suspected that since the agreement, Sony will have been working on a new controller with rumble support. We can now confirm that this is the case. We’ve heard from two independent sources at Sony that they have been working on prototypes for several months. Officially, the corporate line is still “no comment”. Unofficially, Sony is facing some difficulties with battery life; i.e. Between the rumble and the wireless support, the batteries are draining too fast to be acceptable for consumers.”
Whilst Sony originally claimed that rumble effects would have an adverse affect on the motion sensors in the Sixaxis, nothing of the sort has been uttered since. However, the crux has to be the battery life issue, which has apparently arisen due to engineering problems that can no doubt be ironed out before a full-blown release.
But Inner Bits suspects there are two main problems still hanging over Sony’s head:
- First, and this is less important, how do you release a rumble-supporting controller after the claims that rumble is not next-gen? It’s not a major problem because most consumers won’t care about this, even hard-core ones will be happy to see rumble re-introduced.
- Second, how do you bring this to the market without upsetting consumers who already own a PS3, and therefore rumble-less controllers? Sony should not offer the rumble controller as an option, it should become the new default controller. All the old controllers should be pulled off the shelves. A financially expensive, but positive PR move would be to offer all current consumers the opportunity to “upgrade” their controllers for free.
When this new controller gets released doesn’t really matter anymore. As soon as Sony has the hardware kinks worked out, and enough developer support they will release it. They should have had settled with Immersion 6 months before launch and avoided this entire mess. The cost of the settlement is but a mere drop in the overall development cost of the PS3. It is good to see Sony learn from their mistakes and try to rectify them, and hopefully they will learn to avoid making these mistakes altogether in the future.
So could we actually see anything of this new Sixaxis with its rumble technology at next month’s E3 event or even during the Tokyo Games Show in September?
Stick with PlayStatic to find out the final answer…