Let’s get ready to not rumble — the PS3 and force-feedback

Well, folks, if you have a PS3 and you’re praying that Sony will introduce a rumble controller, don’t hold your breath.

Sony maintains that the “rumble” technology would interfere with the SIXAXIS controller’s motion feedback. A rather silly contention, considering the Wii’s elaborate motion-control doesn’t exclude Nintendo from including force-feedback.

The real problem is Sony’s fight with Immersion, who produced the original rumble technology. A lot of game companies ripped it off, and a lot of them settled out of court so they could keep the rumble tech in the controller. Like Microsoft.

Recently, a company named SplitFish announced that it had developed a controller that would provide force feedback without screwing up the motion control of the SIXAXIS. Sony wasn’t interested, and so even if SplitFish introduces the controller, game companies will have zero incentive to put force-feedback in their games.

The only really conceivable problem of incorporating rumble back into Sony’s SIXAXIS controller is battery life. Force-feedback would drain the controller’s battery quite fast. This is certainly an issue, but definitely one Sony could work on if they wanted to. After all, they designed a whole new “batarang” controller which they eventually just dumped for the hell of it. It’s not like Sony is short on cash or creative engineering minds.

If you ask me, Sony will continue to ignore the rumble issue — until it becomes apparent that they’re losing customers because of it. And I think that may happen. I love my PS3; I’m a typical “fanboy“. I’m sticking with the PS3. I love it. Even without rumble tech. But I sure as hell do miss the feeling of recoil from firing a gun. It’s funny, because when Sony first introduced rumble, I wasn’t a huge fan. But I quickly grew to love it. But even I sometimes wistfully wonder how much better a particular game on the PS3 would be on the XBox 360, even given Sony’s superior technology, just because it would have force-feedback.

So, all I can say is, let’s cross our fingers and hope that, maybe in a year or so, Sony will come to their senses and introduce a rumble controller. Either that, or they’ll find useful, fun, and creative ways of using the SIXAXIS’s motion control feature — because so far, no PS3 game makes use of it except in the most gimmicky, non-interesting ways.

Oh rumble, how I mourn for thee!

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