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Immersion Queries Lack Of PS3 Controller Rumble 117

Posted by Zonk
from the interesting-timing dept.
simoniker writes "Following the announcement that the PS3 controller will lack a rumble feature, Gamasutra spoke to Victor Viegas of Immersion Corporation, which is currently suing Sony over the PS2 rumble functionality, about what he feels the company's reasoning truly is. He claims of the PS3 controller having both rumble and tilt: 'I don't believe it's a very difficult problem to solve', and also said that his employees thought the PS3 controller 'felt light, that it felt cheap and flimsy, and that it lacked weight or substance.'"
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Immersion Queries Lack Of PS3 Controller Rumble

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  • Of all the things (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrMrLordX (559371) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @02:25PM (#15353241)
    . . . that one could find wrong with the PS3, the lack of a "rumble pack" feature in its controllers is the least of my concerns. Rumble packs are worthless. After you get over the initial "thrill" of a force-feedback experience, what good are they? All they do is interfere with gameplay.

    (shoving the damn thing down your pants doesn't count as making it useful)
    • Re:Of all the things (Score:2, Interesting)

      by DanHibiki (961690)
      The first thing you do when you start a game tends to be turning off the rumble feature.
    • by eln (21727)
      It's an article about how the guy who is suing Sony over the use of the Rumble Pak thinks the PS3 controller is flimsy and worthless without a Rumble Pak. Surely he wouldn't have any ulterior motives for suggesting the PS3 desperately needs his technology, would he?
      • by springbox (853816)
        I doubt it. I have both a Gravis GamePad Pro (USB) and a PS1 DualShock controller. The difference between the two (besides the lack of analog sticks on the Gravis Pad) are the motors and weights for the rumble feature. The Gravis Pad, while it works just fine, DOES actually feel "flimsy" compared to the nice, weighted feeling of the DualShock controller. Seeing how a game pad will be the primary human to computer interface for the PS3, I would think that both the feeling and function of the controller are i
    • Force feedback play helps alot with gameplay. When you're in a frenzy with smash brothers melee and if you weren't sure you were hit during the frenzy the rumbling can alert you to taking a hit. This allows you to be able to react to your situation without having to look for your character to see if you caused the chaos or not.
      • by TheGavster (774657)
        Force feedback on a joystick is useful, for example in a flight simulator it can simulate cable-linked control surfaces. The random jiggling that the 'force feedback' controllers use is not quite as additive to the imersion of the game. If they could actually jerk the controller in a set director, like for the recoil of a gun, that would be useful, but vibrating limits it to the usefulness of a buzzer or blinking light.
        • vibrating limits it to the usefulness of a buzzer or blinking light.

          Right, but if it's a buzzer that only the player can sense, and sensing it doesn't interfere with seeing the game action, then the correlation of what is happening on the screen with what is happening between the player's hands can help the player react better.

        • If it's random jiggling, it's not force feedback, it's vibration feedback and even Sony refers to it as such.
        • Force feedback on a joystick is useful, for example in a flight simulator it can simulate cable-linked control surfaces. The random jiggling that the 'force feedback' controllers use is not quite as additive to the imersion of the game.

          It's not all about immersion. It's often simply about having more feedback. The more senses you can supply, the better. UI researchers have known this for a long time.

          We've got young children, and we eventually realized that Wavebirds would work better than corded controllers
    • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @02:31PM (#15353290)
      (shoving the damn thing down your pants doesn't count as making it useful)

      No, but it sure does increase the fun-factor for a whole lot of games...
      • Like when you're playing a two-player game, and you stick the second controller in your pants, and then ram Player 1's car into Player 2's car, and....

        Wait. Nevermind.
    • I have to disagree with you here. I do a lot of console gaming and I really couldn't imagine not having a rumble feature... it gives you just that little sense of being in the game. I know that it's not perfect and that most of the time you don't really notice it; but I think you would notice if it wasn't there.
      • If it's that important, couldn't it just be implemented as some kind of add on device? There were such devices for the PC, like the much hyped intensor and the better-liked-by-reviewers battlechair. Those were expensive, but perhaps some kind of force feedback type device could be made that's not as big, maybe a vibrating headband or something(although that might cause spinal problems).
        • Or...get this...a controller that vibrates! You know, so that you don't have to plug in and use a second peripheral.
        • It was an add-on for N64 and Dreamcast. Since then it's been built-in. Really, in this day and age saying rumble should be an add-on is akin to saying an analog stick should be an add-on.
          • by undeaf (974710)
            But the reason behind there being no rumble IIRC was that it would interfere with the tilt or whatever motion sensing features there are. Hence the idea of putting the vibration feedback somewhere other than the hands. How about a vibrating cushion that could be attached to the back of a chair or sat on?

            I worded that post a bit wrong, I meant to say "if it's that important to some people". Some surely consider it a gimmick that's getting old by now, while others would be happy to have more of it, those are
          • "akin to saying an analog stick should be an add-on." ...Nintendo did!
          • Analog stick add on? Sounds like something Nintendo would do! Oh wait...
    • True in some cases, but I think it's something we tend to take for granted alot. Developers haven't been too good at using its potential either.
      • I found tiger woods to use the rumble feature very well. When you have a high pressure shot, the controller rumbles in unison with the sound of a heartbeat. It's a pretty cool feature, and I think helps emphasize an important shot. But you're right about most developers not taking advantage of it. Usually it just rumbles when the ground shakes, or you hit something in a game.
    • by Cornflake917 (515940) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @02:33PM (#15353312) Homepage
      (shoving the damn thing down your pants doesn't count as making it useful)

      It does for me, my friend. It does for me. Now if you will excuse me I'm gonna play some Grand Turismo and drive my car against a wall.
    • Rumble is something that's very subjective. My wife hates it and always turns it off when she starts the game. It "scares" her, when she's playing and the controller starts to shake during a tense moment.

      Me? I love the rumble. One game that uses it extremely well is Shadow of the Colossus. It just adds extra depth to the game, and makes it literally "feel" like you are there or involved in some way.

      Is it a deal-breaker not to have rumble? Certainly not. After all, I've played numerous games on the PC or old
    • ahhh... see and for me it adds to the immersion and I personally don't get as involved when playing with a controller that doesn't rumble. The wavebird is a great controller and all my friends love them... but I still use the gamecube's wired controller because it just adds to the experience.
    • I think they removed the rumble feature in order to make room to fit in the tilt feature in the last second, to answer Wiimote hype...
    • by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @02:45PM (#15353417)
      After you get over the initial "thrill" of a force-feedback experience, what good are they? All they do is interfere with gameplay.

      Well, first of all, if it was force feedback, there wouldn't even be a question of whether it's useful or not. Force feedback certainly is useful, in most cases.

      But "rumble" is not the same as "force feedback". Force feedback actually gives you real sensations designed to mimic whatever's being simulated. For example, you can actually feel the stick get heavier as you bank into the wind in a flight sim. Or you can feel the steering wheel start to give way as your tires lose adhesion in a driving sim. This is great stuff, and it really makes you feel like you're "in the game".

      IMO, a good tactic to counter Nintendo's Wii would have been to make a controller that truly is a force feedback controller and also works equally well with different types of games. The second part is the hard part, because force feedback is sort of a specialized function right now. But if Nintendo can make a motion-sensing controller that works with all types of games, then someone else could do the same with force feedback.

      Anyway, to get back to the point, "rumble" is just a shaking mechanism; it doesn't convey any actual "force" on the controller. It's "feedback", I guess, but not "force feedback".

      Even so, though, it's a useful thing to have in a lot of games, just not as useful as true force feedback. It depends on how it's implemented. In a racing game, for example, you can still simulate with a pretty good degree of accuracy that feeling of just being on the edge of losing control. You do that with different degrees of shake. Tapping other cars off to the side can be simulated with jolts, and this can actually be helpful because it's not like you can just look off to the side to see what's happening. These are the sorts of situations where "rumble" is nice to have.

      There are games where it's basically useless and where it actually may get annoying after a while. Some games have it just to have it; I've played puzzle games where just putting a puzzle piece down results in a jolt from the rumble motors. That sort of thing just gets tiring.

      But a lot of games - especially simulators of any kind, action shooters and the like - will miss it.
      • IMO, a good tactic to counter Nintendo's Wii would have been to make a controller that truly is a force feedback controller and also works equally well with different types of games. The second part is the hard part, because force feedback is sort of a specialized function right now.

        No, the second part is easy. You leave it up to the developers. The first part, actually making the thing, is the hard part. So far we have basically three types of force feedback controller: joysticks, mice, and steering/

      • Re:Of all the things (Score:2, Interesting)

        by maumedia (951250)
        I agree. I can't imagine some games being the same without it.

        In some games, there's a lot of information coming at you, and not all of it is visible. Rumble isn't perfect, but it's a way to convey information that you can't see or hear. Tire grip and side/rear impacts in driving games is a prime example, but more than that, it means you've hit the ground after a jump in Oblivion, tells you how well you connected with a hit in DOA, it's your heartbeat in Indigo Prophesy, and it's how you escape from cops in
      • Re:Of all the things (Score:3, Informative)

        by Dolly_Llama (267016) *


        You can think of force feedback as a layman's term. The fancy-pants word is "Haptics" and encompasses both kinesthetic feedback, where an opposing force is directly applied to a input surface as in a FF-joystick, as well as vibrotactile feedback as in the Dual Shock where the vibration feeds-back information through the input device.

        In either case, the input device provides additional information through the sense of touch than the user would have without it.
      • All this means is that we need new types of games, where the gamesplay revolves around holding on to small, vibrating objects. That way, our existing rumble technology will be true force feedback. I propose a game based on JJ, the King of Beepers, as I can't think of anything other than beepers that vibrates like a PS2 controller. Plus, JJ was awesome. Maybe you had to live in LA or Phoenix at the right time. H.
    • Wario says (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Silent sound (960334) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @03:43PM (#15353863)
      Under normal circumstances, I would agree here. One of my favorite things about the Wavebird on the gamecube was that it didn't have rumble, which meant I never had to hunt for the configuration menu to turn the rumble off.

      However: these are not normal circumstances.

      Have you ever played a game called Wario Ware Twisted?

      Wario Ware Twisted was a Game Boy game that came out last year. It is very possibly the best GBA game of all time. It also, interestingly, is probably the best glimpse we have into what the PS3 tilt controller will work like.

      Wario Ware Twisted had some kind of gyroscope built into it which could both tell which way you were tilting the GBA, as well as provide rumble feedback. The point of the game was that it would provide you a bunch of tiny tasks in rapidfire succession ("cut this carrot!" "stomp on this turtle!" "dodge this rock!" etc.), give you 5 seconds to complete the task, and then immediately move on to the next one, as if someone had put an NES in a blender. The trick is, all of these microgames were played using nothing but the tilt sensor and the A button.

      Because, unlike the Nintendo Wii and its remote control / 3d mouse, WWT is played on something that "feels like" a traditional controller (i.e. a GBA or DS), Wario Ware Twisted is probably actually closer to how the PS3 controller ought to work than the Wii demos that Nintendo has shown so far.

      One of the surprising things about Wario Ware Twisted is that, although under normal conditions I personally consider rumble to normally be a stupid gimmick, once you slapped in the tilt sensor the rumble became absolutely necessary, and after playing Wario Ware Twisted it is very hard to imagine tilt sensing working without rumble.

      This is why: part of good interface design is providing feedback. An example we see on a computer might be a button; when you click on the button, it provides feedback by visually highlighting, signalling to the user, hey, you pressed a button. That would be an example in a graphical user interface. However when you are designing a tactile interface, like a video game controller, you need to provide tactile feedback. When you press a button on a controller or a key on a keyboard, you feel the key depressing under your hand. When you move a mouse on a desk you feel the mouse dragging across the mousing surface. The point in all cases is, the user needs guidance to know, hey, that thing you did, it did something. The user can figure out what's happening even withut this guidance, but it just won't feel natural.

      And part of what makes Wario Ware Twisted feel natural is the guidance of tactile feedback. Whenever the tilt sensor is active, it emits little rumble jolts every time it registers a reading. This means that when you turn the controller, it "resists" in your hand, or provides the illusion of doing so, to give the impression you are actually "turning" something. Furthermore the game is set up so that the "heavier" the thing you're controlling is, the greater the feedback. The rumble "resistance" is greater in a microgame where the controller is moving the earth than in a microgame where you are moving a fly. Meanwhile when you turn the GBA quickly the resistance comes quicker than when you turn it slowly, giving immediate feedback that you are having a greater effect.

      The GBA is no harder to turn when the resistance is present, but just the feel of the thing gives you a clear idea, straight to your reflexes without any need to think about it, when I tilt the controller, is it having any effect? And how much effect is it having? The extent to which this adds to the natural feeling of the game is quite startling.

      This is why, hilariously-- although there are claims that Sony took out the rumble to prevent it from interfering with the tilt control-- the Dual Shake needs rumble exactly because it has tilt control. Sony's tilt control is going to be effectively one step behind a Game Boy game released last year.
      • Another good use of rumble is notification.

        I played the Uno demo on Xbox Live Arcade recently - to indicate that the system was waiting on you (it was your turn), it would rumble the controller. So if you were watching and got confused who the current player is (easy on fast Uno games), the rumble told you that yes, it was your turn.

        OT: The only thing I wish Uno had was "Hot Death" mode.
      • I can't agree more that the PS3 controller is going to need a rumble to work well with its tilt component. However, I wouldn't point to WarioWare Twisted as a good example of what the PS3 controller will feel like, for two reasons.

        First, one of the great things about Twisted was the fact that you were literally turning the screen. This allowed the GBA to work as a series of "virtual objects" that you manipulated in real space. Obviously, no home console will have this function. (It's technically possible
    • After you get over the initial "thrill" of a force-feedback experience

      And it's not like it's any kind of credible feedback, anyway. There's an unbalanced weight that spins around, and it's either on, or it's off. That's not feedback anymore than a light going on would be feedback.

      I mean, I've done the following:

      Driven a car; driven a truck; flown in a CH-47 helicopter; gone skiing; gone mountain biking; gone sailing; ridden a jet-ski; ridden a dirt bike; driven a 3-wheeler; fired guns; set off high explos
      • I mean, I've done the following:

        Driven a car; driven a truck; flown in a CH-47 helicopter; gone skiing; gone mountain biking; gone sailing; ridden a jet-ski; ridden a dirt bike; driven a 3-wheeler; fired guns; set off high explosives.


        ahhh...Mr. Bond. I've been expecting you. *strokes white cat in a sinister manner*
      • I don't know, driving a car or truck down a washboard road gets pretty close to the same effect as the rumble on game controllers.
    • Speak for yourself. I found the rumble to be great.

      For racing, when you bumped into something. For fighting, when you took a hit. All kinds of stuff benefitted from having that little bit of tacitile feedback.
    • I'm sure GameGirlAdvance would argue that last point to death. If there's one thing that's consistent with women, they giggle with glee whenever the controller rumbles. I don't care if it's a sexual thing or not, it's the cheesy kind of "fun" women love. We guys, we're just not tactile enough I guess.
    • Rumble packs were always a retarded feature that didn't really contribute much to the experience. They always reminded me of a NES type of cheesy lame VR feature. Remember those vests you could wear that would rumble during play? Ooooh yeah those were fun for about five minutes.
    • Gee, I wonder who has never played Rallysport Challenge 2.

      Rumble, done correctly is awesome.

      Stop posting.
  • obvious (Score:4, Informative)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @02:28PM (#15353260)
    I thought that Sony's losing battle with Immersion was a pretty obvious explanation for why the PS3 control doesn't feature any sort of rumble feature. The sad thing is that I didn't see this mentioned *anywhere* last week in the articles about the new controller. Journalists everywhere seemed to take it at face-value that rumble and tilt was an either/or proposition.
    • it doesn't really matter if people in the press didn't notice it; players will. The genius of sony's stratergy is maybe people will only notice AFTER they've put up over £450 (I think thats about what it'll be here); and after you've paid that much for something you either become a fanboi or admit that you might have wasted your money - needless to say we'll be hearing a lot of "well my tri-linea filtering is over 2 nanoseconds quicker than yours in rendering an arbitrary image which will never come
      • it doesn't really matter if people in the press didn't notice it; players will

        Will any of them miss it?

        I know I don't miss it in my WaveBirds, and I've never heard anybody else complain about it being missing from them either. "Rumble" was a neat gimmic back in 1998. Now, who cares? It rarely adds anything to the experience, and the novelty has worn off. Personally, I'd rather have more controller battery life.
        • I am really sad to see it gone, it is very usefull in driving games, yes alot of games it is useless in, but some I cant imagine without.
          • I usually turn it off in driving games, because most driving games over-use it. Some use it well though.

            I'm all for Sony sticking it to immersion, but I'd bet it has more to do with the lack of cord than with the bogus patent.
  • by Qzukk (229616) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @02:28PM (#15353261) Journal
    "Your controller sucks! Rumble would make it so much better! Quit trying to avoid paying us royalties or we'll keep telling people your console is a cheap piece of crap!"
  • I was too lazy to turn it off, and only did so if it repeatedly got in my way while playing. I liked it in some games because it warned me that something was starting to happen, sometimes before I saw it on screen, like rocks falling. Which gave me the upperhand. I won't however miss it as I don't think it's all that important of a feature to have.
  • by Hamster Lover (558288) * on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @02:37PM (#15353347) Journal
    The Immmersion patent lawsuit concerning the rumble feature in the Playstation controllers must have had some bearing on the exclusion of the rumble feature from the new controller. After all, even though the judge ruled against Sony he found that Sony did not violate the patent wilfully. I would assume that by incorporating rumble into the PS3 controller that would be construed as a wilful violation of the Immersion patent. Rather than pay royalties to Immersion, I would guess that Sony decided to cut their losses and eliminate the rumble feature.

    Oh, and I believe Microsoft, who was also sued for violating the patent, settled for an undisclosed sum.
    • I'm not an expert on these matters but I would have thought that they could have just made a different system which isn't patented and used that. The gamecube/Wii one seems to have been fine; so couldn't Sony have just made one along a different line (maybe using a spinning turbine if they don't already or a system similar to that in phones) or have they done the usual of patenting "rumble feature..er...(but that already exists)... so... rumble feature on a Playstation!!!"
      • From what I understand, Nintendo's rumble predates Immersion's patent, and IIRC, immersion's patent is on a rumble device which has two levels of rumble gained through the use of two different sizes of weight. ALL of these rumble devices work the same way as vibrate on a pager or cellphone, or for that matter, on a sex toy; there's an electric motor which spins an offset weight, causing the vibration effect.
        • Simply put, Sony initially laughed at Immersion. Sony had Dual Shock controllers on the US market in 1998. I know, because my Playstation broke down in 1998 and I replaced it with a Playstation Dual Shock. The original suit was over patent 6,275,213 [uspto.gov]. That patent was filed in 2000 and granted in 2001.

          In other words, Sony itself had prior art. Who would have thought that the courts would ignore that and let Immersion win... twice?

      • The gamecube/Wii [controller vibration feature] seems to have been fine [with respect to Immersion's patents]

        Nintendo is an Immersion investor. Could that have something to do with it?

    • Why has Nintendo not been sued?
  • Of all people to ask about it, they pick this guy? Call me picky, but if people ever need an objective explanation of some choice I made, I'd hope they'd get it from someone other than someone who happened to be fighting the fight of their life with me over the exact choice.
  • Crazy patent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doodlepants (646546) * on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @02:48PM (#15353438)
    Copied from the above link :
    "Viegas is confident, however, that his company's technology will be at home on video game systems in the future."

    They call this technology ?! They call this piece of crap of two different weight lead spinning over an axis a "force-feedback and so-called "haptic" (engaging the user via the sense of touch)". A Patent was awarded over this ? Surely I'm not the only one to think that PATENT LAWS should be revisited ?

    Happy for me that this technology is a piece of crap I can live without... and I'm a video game programmer specialized in Input.
    • Happy for me that this technology is a piece of crap I can live without... and I'm a video game programmer specialized in Input.

      What does your expertise in input have to do with output?
    • They also developed the SDK for working with the feedback motors (which they pulled and is no longer free, bastards) and they also seem to have a pretty good idea of how to use it effectively (being that I own a couple of Immersion stamped input devices.) I wouldn't totally discount their patent because it seems obvious. Yeah, it's just motors and weights, but you also need to know how to translate the feeling of moving over a rough/sticky/whatever surface into movment of the motor so that it feels realisti
      • "Yeah, it's just motors and weights, but you also need to know how to translate the feeling of moving over a rough/sticky/whatever surface into movment of the motor so that it feels realistic."

        This is an important point. Assuming the patent in question specifically talks about using these motors within gaming, it's specific enough to be a valid patent. I think what the other poster is suffering from hindsight.
  • MGS4 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by finkployd (12902) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @02:54PM (#15353480) Homepage
    I saw an interview with the creator of the Metal Gear Solid games talking about 4 on the PS3. They asked him about the lack of rumble (MGS being on the of few, if only games that used it for something that legitimately enhanced game-play). He said that his understand was that the PS3 controllers are going to have motion sensors in them (I guess like the Wii controller) and that you couldn't do both motion sensors and rumbling.

    That kind of makes sense, but you could certainly provide both and let the game pick which to use (using both simultaneously would probably not work for obvious reasons). I'm guessing that is Sony's official excuse rather than saying "we lost a patent lawsuit".

    Given the choice, I would much rather have a controller with motion sensors (and games designed to used them intelligently) rather than rumble any day. Contra would have been more fun for me if throwing the controller around actually made the player move a little faster or jump a little higher when I needed it. Let's face it, we all did this anyway, might as well make a controller that understands it.

    Finkployd
    • Re:MGS4 (Score:5, Informative)

      by The Warlock (701535) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @03:04PM (#15353557)
      Whoever decided that you can't have motion sensors and rumble at the same time apparently didn't tell this to the Wii developers, as the controller there has both.
      • I'm sure you like, like I said, I just doubt they can both be used at the same time. All I'm saying is that Sony's excuse (at least to the MGS4 people) was the sensors.

        Either way, (with the exception of the Metal Gear Solid games) I'm not going to miss the rumble function. The thought that someone is probably using the controller right now for sexual purposes is disturbing. :P

        Finkployd
        • I'm sure you like, like I said, I just doubt they can both be used at the same time.

          Incidentally, I have no idea what the hell I am saying here. This is probably a sign I need to take a break from ./ for a little bit

          Finkployd
        • Re:MGS4 (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Dorceon (928997) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @03:30PM (#15353766)
          Sony's motion detection is based on accelerometers. That's why it can detect tilt, but not position. Nintentdo's is based on triangulation. This is probably why Nintendo can have it both ways and Sony can't.
          • by oGMo (379)
            Um I don't know why this still gets tossed around, but accelerometers are for positioning [wikipedia.org], not tilt. That is what inclinometers [wikipedia.org] are for. (Yes, you can use 6 accelerometers for tilt, but you only need 3 for position.) Sony has stated repeatedly that you get 6dof, which is translation and rotation on all axes. They also specifically state X, Y, and Z, just so you could be sure.

            To prove to yourself you can do positional motion detection with an accelerometer, think about an old-style ball mouse. There i

    • Wii (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Alaren (682568)

      "He said that his understand was that the PS3 controllers are going to have motion sensors in them (I guess like the Wii controller) and that you couldn't do both motion sensors and rumbling...

      "That kind of makes sense..."

      Until you realize that the Wii incorporates both, and uses both.

      Personally, I'm more interested in learning why the rumble feature is the DualSchock and XBox controllers violates this patent, but the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube rumble doesn't? I mean, besides the fact that Nintendo ha

      • Looks like someone else has wondered the exact same thing. [slashdot.org]

        And yet, the answer only raises more questions...

      • Patents (should) deal with specific implementations. Sony and Microsoft did it one way and that way was patented and they got sued for it. Nintendo paved their own path and did it another way. Vibrator tech isn't hard, you just take something off balance and rotate it and there's lots of ways to do that.
      • one thing a lot of gamers don't realize is that nintendo owns pretty much any patent related to input in games. they own immersion. they own rumble, they own motion sensing, they own the d-pad, they own the analog stick, they own everything.

        of course nintendo isn't going to get sued over this.
  • Rumble is a PITA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rikkitikki (91982) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @03:02PM (#15353540)
    I've bought two wireless controllers from in the past. The first thing I do in any game is disable rumble. Rumble sucks the batteries down. Check the back of any wireless controller package and you'll see two expected play times listed: one without rumble, one with rumble. (I suppose it doesn't help that I find rumble annoying more often than not)

    So Sony has to deal with the fact that rumble sucks batteries, interferes with the tilt sensors, and has to deal with the Immersion lawsuit. It's a no-brainer, kill the feature.
  • gee zonk (Score:2, Troll)

    by mgabrys_sf (951552)
    You must be depressed as hell.

    Go through all the trouble to post -yet- another Sony hater article - and people are beating up on Immersion instead.

    I think that's hillarious myself.
  • Hm, does this mean dildos violate it too?

    Its the same crap, a small electric motor with an offset metal weight. Everything that uses this technology should violate their patent, no? Cel phones? pagers?

    • Not that I would know from experience, but dildos usually only have one offset weight. The patent covers the use of two offset weights to provide varying levels of feedback.
    • The patent is for "Tactile feedback man-machine interface device [freepatentsonline.com]"

      As far as I understand it, this is basically the same as what you find in vibrators, except that it's used in a "man-machine interface". Daft, eh? Not the first time I find a patent x which is the same as patent (or prior art) y, except that x is used for purpose z.

      I agree with the common /.er view that the USPT needs a major overhaul.
  • Is it because the rumble would throw off the sensors? What's wrong with that? Get shot by an enemy, and the rumble throws off your aim for a second. Wouldn't that, in the end, be more realistic?
  • 1. The whole thing with Immersion itself trying to sue the pants off of anything that rumbles. Sony didn't pay and was defeated in court so they "question" why the PS3 doesn't have rumble? Yeah...

    2. If the controler itself has a "motion sensor" itself, ie the tilt functionality showcased in Warhawk, then having a controler that vibrated might interfere with it reporting correct user input. It isn't that the controler is delicate but the way tilt is measured is thrown off by extra forces like vibration.
    • I think it would make it a little more fun if the feedback did interfere with the motion sensors. I mean, if your plane gets hit, rumble kicks in, makes it more difficult to fly for a second. No idea if this would work or not, but it sure sounds like fun.
    • 2. If the controler itself has a "motion sensor" itself, ie the tilt functionality showcased in Warhawk, then having a controler that vibrated might interfere with it reporting correct user input. It isn't that the controler is delicate but the way tilt is measured is thrown off by extra forces like vibration.

      Nintendo seems to have found a way around that with their controller [nintendo.com]. Perhaps Nintendo has a patent on their technology, and Sony isn't willing to pay up to both Nintendo and Immersion.
  • Just out of curiousity (since I really don't know), how do accelerometers handle being dropped on the floor, thrown on the floor in disgust, dragged across the livingroom and other things that currently happen to all controllers out there (doesn't everyone remember a controller from one of their systems that just rattles a little when you shake it)? I know we all try and take care of our toys, but if one of these gets misaligned, doesn't it kill functionality?

    I know someone is going to say that button
  • Immersion said in a press release that they were "disappointed" that Sony did not include their Intellectual Property in their upcoming high-volume console.

    In other news Gates said he was "disappointed" that server rooms are moving to Linux in droves.

    • They're just pissed that the IP they bought instead of developing on their own is going to miss out on licensing from Sony this round. In my opinion, that's just karma.
  • I must say, rumble is great in some situations, like the heartbeat in Silent Hill telling you just how damaged you are, without having a stupid 100% health gauge on-screen. I also really REALLY like it in certain racing titles like Forza Motorsport and a few others, as it gives you extra information about your car's traction, much like a real car would convey. Try it with a "Momo Force" steering wheel controller, it's a whole new experience!

    For everything else, rumble is like that annoying "ding" sound th
    • Yes, for all the games that use rumble as a sort of generic tactile beep, it is worth it for the ones that really use it to enhance the game experience. One think that I've noticed is that when rumble is used well, it tends to be subliminal--you aren't even particularly aware of it unless you make a point of paying attention to it.

      I imagine that effective use of motion sensing will be even more rare than effective use of rumble. The Nintendo controller is clearly designed around its motion and position sens
      • The last time I used a tilt controller (on a bus), the person sitting across from me asked if I had a condition. I was playing some racing game, and the analog tilt was far superior to the "full left or right" of the keyboard.

        Norms really don't "get" tilt sensors because they can't see them. Maybe if the tilt controller had a bubble level built into the side, it would be obvious to casual onlookers and maybe I wouldn't get asked if I'm retarded. Or maybe it's the hair.
  • I can't help thinking these motion sensitive controllers are the Atari Mindlink all over again. It makes for mondo video clips of people slashing a virtual sword, but the the early adopters will try doing that for a couple hours... and, yeah, I know you can do the thing with little flicks. It's still going to be annoying.

    And how does one get into a lawsuit over a controller's rumble function? My employer blocks, for some reason, gaming news sites.

  • An excellent use of the rumble feature is in the Madden football series. If you have to make a critical field goal try at the end of the game, it puts you into a first person view, plays the sound of a heartbeat, and the rumble mimics the feel of a heartbeat. It really does totally immerse you in the moment. So, let's end this nonsense about how rumble packs are totally useless.
  • The royalty cheques will stop landing on the doorstep in November...

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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