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PS3 Finally Ready to Rumble?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the for-the-love-of-all-that-is-holy-thank-you dept.

PlayStation (Games) 99

An anonymous reader writes "Sony has finally settled its longstanding legal dispute over infringement of Immersion Corporation's force feedback patents, which reportedly led to Sony's decision to remove rumble technology from the PS3 controller, by agreeing to pay Immersion at least $150.3 million in damages and royalties. The agreement presumably will result in rumble and perhaps other of Immersion's force-feedback technologies being incorporated in future Sony controllers. Microsoft previously settled a similar lawsuit brought by Immersion, but Sony hung on tenaciously despite complaints about its controller products and disappointing PS3 sales." There's no guarantee that the tech will show up in the Sixaxis controller, of course. After all, rumble is a 'last-gen' feature.

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99 comments

wow (2, Funny)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206162)

$150 million to make something vibrate. I wonder if they will go after cell-phones and beepers next.

Re:wow (5, Funny)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206224)

or certain recreational devices...

Wait, how long have those been around with that feature? Longer than patents for such things? Prior art maybe?

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206648)

"Prior art"? I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you haven't read the patent and you have no idea what it actually covers. Is that right?

Re:wow (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206802)

I was going off of the previous posters comment and not the actual patent.

Maybe you should be rude to him instead? Or maybe yourself?

Re:wow (0, Offtopic)

Yr0 (224662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214518)

SHUT YOUR CAKE HOLE, you lousy fool

when you cannot see that you have been beaten,

leave the site to get your ass eaten.

YOU LOSE!

Soon to be released on PR Newswire (1)

underwhelm (53409) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206274)

It took Sony to to pump $150 million into 20th century vibration technology to make it a next generation technology. Through the power of this licensed technology, every vibration you'll feel while playing the PS3 will literally come from the future.

Re:wow (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207120)

"$150 million to make something vibrate. I wonder if they will go after cell-phones and beepers next."

Their patent is for video games.

Re:wow (1)

joystickgenie (913297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207610)

There are plenty of cell phone games. It's a pretty booming market actually. So if some developer uses the vibrate feature of a phone in their game that probably would count.

Re:wow (1)

XenoRyet (824514) | more than 7 years ago | (#18208288)

I don't think it would. The patent is more specific than that. For example, the Xbox, and 360 controllers use the method described in the patent, and thus license the technology. The GameCube, and Wii controllers, on the other hand apparently have a different method of producing the rumble, and do not fall under the patent.

Unless I'm completely mistaken about that, a cell phone's vibration feature is very unlikely to fall under the same patent, even when used for games.

Re:wow (2, Informative)

joystickgenie (913297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18212460)

I'm pretty sure it doesn't have to do with the implementation of the rumble but that Nintendo is clear from this because of prior art.

The rumble pack for the Nintendo 64 and the one for the game boy both came out years before and were patented before the immersion vibration patent. So Nintendo is getting a free ride because they were actually there first and immersion doesn't want to start a feud over who actually owns the idea of rumble in games.

Re:wow (1)

XenoRyet (824514) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213256)

If that's the case, and Nintendo's rumble patent predates Immersion's, why aren't they taking the same action against Immersion, Microsoft, and Sony? It would seem like a very advantageous thing to do.

Re:wow (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18209582)

Am I the only gamer on the planet that thinks rumble is a retarded and overrated feature? I think this rumble thing is a case where the vocal minority are being heard over the quiet majority. I will not miss the rumble, heck I barely ever noticed it was there except in Metal Gear Solid when you meet Psycho Mantis.

And my wireless controller battery will last longer not having.

Re:wow (1)

Soiden (1029534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214402)

%150 million to demostrate they can make it vibrate. Because they shouldn't do it, if it's out-of-date :rolleyes:

O Rly? (1, Interesting)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206176)

Didn't Sony say that the rumble feature was "current-gen" technology and not "next-gen" technology, and that was why they were no longer using or supporting it?

Re:O Rly? (4, Informative)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206308)

BIZ: A lot of gamers, including myself, enjoy the controller's motion sensing at times, but we still miss rumble. If gamers want it and are vocal enough, will Sony reintroduce the force feedback at some point?

PH: We have no plans to do so in the standard controller that ships with PlayStation 3. I believe that the Sixaxis controller offers game designers and developers far more opportunity for future innovation than rumble ever did. Now, rumble I think was the last generation feature; it's not the next-generation feature. I think motion sensitivity is. And we don't see the need to do that. Having said that, there will be specific game function controllers, potentially like steering wheels that do include vibration or feedback function--not from us but from third parties.

http://biz.gamedaily.com/industry/feature/?id=1534 2&ncid=AOLGAM000500000000026 [gamedaily.com]

Re:O Rly? (1)

dolson (634094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206390)

I bet there will be a Dual Shock Suxasses controller coming out soon. Direct from Sony. It's gonna be nice to see them eat their words. Again.

Wait... (2, Insightful)

Mongoose (8480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207180)

You like it when patent trolls win? Even if you don't like Sony -- at least they tried to avoid paying out to Immersion. This will be for PS2 controller compatibility more than anything else, so you can play your older games with rumble. You didn't see Sony shaking down Microsoft for making a vision based controller.

I guess trolls of a feather flock together. =)

Re:Wait... (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207692)

It's a shame that Immersion did manage to wring money out of Sony. I'm not a fan of Sony's corporate behavior recently, but they're the victim in this.

Do Immersion actually make any products, or do they license out rumble technology?

Re:Wait... (1)

wynler (678277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207958)

What's wrong with someone getting paid for a good design?  Before Immersion, the technology for creating vibration as feedback for a human interface was available, but had never been used that way before.  Immersion came up with the idea, an idea that no one had thought of before.

There are some really bad patents out there, but I don't see this as being one.

Re:Wait... (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210330)

The problem is that it's highly likely that somebody else would have come up with this idea either way.

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18215158)

I have a problem with patents like this one... the kind that automatically reward the first person to run into a particular problem. For example, Amazon decides to build an early e-commerce site and then thinks, "Gee, it'd be nice if I could use cookies to skip the order-confirmation step." They effectively receive a patent on an idea -- not a specific implementation -- that literally anyone with two functioning brain cells would have thought of if he'd been the first to encounter a situation where it would have made sense.

Same with the idea of making a game controller vibrate. Never mind the fact that arcade games were doing this in the mid-80s, where's the unique flash of brilliance and/or hard work that entitles Immersion to $150,000,000? That's not "rewarding innovation," it's "operating a government lottery."

Re:Wait... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18208198)

Take a look at Immersion's web site: http://www.immersion.com./ [www.immersion.com] Sure doesn't look like a patent troll to me. They have a number of product lines in addition to gaming, including medical (through their own subsidiary), automotive and cell phones.

Re:Wait... (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18208274)

But I don't see any actual products, just products by other companies that licensed their technology. [www.immersion.com] I guess if they made a piece of hardware that Logitech just sticks in their joystick that would be one thing, but their website is pretty vague about what Immersion itself actually creates. Theres a lot of talk about licensing, and I did find a snippet about some middleware, but thats about it. I'm not saying that they don't have their own products, but their site doesn't seem to indicate whether or not they actually develop the hardware or technology, thus my original question.

Re:Wait... (2, Informative)

enharmonix (988983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18208826)

But I don't see any actual products, just products by other companies that licensed their technology. [www.immersion.com] I guess if they made a piece of hardware that Logitech just sticks in their joystick that would be one thing, but their website is pretty vague about what Immersion itself actually creates. Theres a lot of talk about licensing, and I did find a snippet about some middleware, but thats about it. I'm not saying that they don't have their own products, but their site doesn't seem to indicate whether or not they actually develop the hardware or technology, thus my original question.
Going out on a limb here, but I don't think that in itself would necessarily qualify them patent trolls. The point of patents is specifically to protect inventors without investors - they have a good idea but are unable to develop it, or are unable to compete with bigger companies who could manufacture and sell the product for less. The whole point of patents is to allow inventors to license them to other people. What makes somebody a patent troll is when that's their business model - they don't develop anything, not even a prototype, they just buy up broad patents and attempt to extort royalties from anybody selling a similar product who happens to have deep pockets. In this case, Immersion really doesn't strike me as a patent troll - they sell a service, provide the equipment (whether or not they manufacture it themselves), developed SDKs, and their business model specifically seems to relate to force feedback solutions. Not a typical troll, if you ask me.

Compare to ARM Ltd? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211200)

But I don't see any actual products, just products by other companies that licensed their technology.
ARM Ltd [wikipedia.org] is a CPU maker that doesn't have its own fabs. Instead, it licenses the ARM architecture patents and the VHDL source code for ARM processors to Intel, Freescale, and other chipmakers who want to include an ARM processor in their products. It also distributes proprietary software used when developing system software for products using ARM processors.

Re:Wait... (1)

OAB_X (818333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18226492)

They did make a force-feedback mouse back in the day. It never went anywhere and was physically tethered to the mouse pad, but they did try and release a product on it.

There was like one game that was compatible, and that was black/white (original)

Re:Wait... (1)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207820)

They just need a new method of rumble. Nintendo isn't paying patent trolls (though they might have a "prior art" case that Sony doesn't).

Re:O Rly? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206628)

What's interesting is that five minutes with WarioWare: Twisted (a GBA game from a few years back with motion-sensing and rumble) would have made it clear that rumble is an essential feature in a motion-sensing controllers. The assertion that motion-sensing supsersedes rumble is the best proof so far that the people at Sony have no clue what they are doing.

Re:O Rly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206800)

How is asking a question answered in the article summary "Interesting"?

They should have noticed (2, Informative)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206178)

Really, when Microsoft rolls over and just pays out the license fee for something, you should start thinking that you could be in the wrong.

Re:They should have noticed (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206252)

They knew thy were wrong but both they and Immersion knew that Sony would have to pay less for that than they would have for licensing the patent.

Re:They should have noticed (2, Insightful)

bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206582)

Do you really think that Microsoft would think twice about paying a $50M licence just to establish a precedent were thier competitors had to pay $100M?

Re:They should have noticed (4, Insightful)

jusdisgi (617863) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207476)

Really, when Microsoft rolls over and just pays out the license fee for something, you should start thinking that you could be in the wrong.

You mean like when they paid SCO?

Sony Teaches A Patent Extornionist A Lesson (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206198)

Good job Sony!

It has been hilarious to watch Immersion get increasingly desperate over the last year or so as Sony made it crystal clear that they weren't going to just cave in like Microsoft did and hand over millions in cash. Immersion thought they hit the jackpot and assumed Sony would just cave in on the PS3 hardware. Sucks to be them.

In the end few people really care about rumble. It was a novelty back in the N64 days, but it really hasn't been missed from the PS3 controller. The only people who seem to have a strong opinion of rumble in the PS3 almost universally don't have a PS3 but do own another console...

So we are probably going to see a PS3 controller with rumble at some point in the future. Or maybe we won't. It doesn't really matter.

 

Re:Sony Teaches A Patent Extornionist A Lesson (2, Funny)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206214)

Except that Sony did cave and hand over millions in cash. 150 million.

Re:Sony Teaches A Patent Extornionist A Lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206398)

Silly fanboy!

Time for you to go read the past year's increasingly desperate press releases and public statements from Immersion essentially begging Sony to put rumble in the Sixaxis or the Immersion investors who were flipping out because the thought Sony would cave and send the stock skyrocketing.

The 150 million is nothing to Sony for what they managed to get out of Immersion. Of course you would have to actually read about the details from an actual informed source and not some dopey Slashdot editor's summary of course.

Sony won bigtime with this one.

Re:Sony Teaches A Patent Extornionist A Lesson (1)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207226)

Of course you would have to actually read about the details from an actual informed source and not some dopey Slashdot editor's summary of course.


Care to share some of those sources? It sounds like it would be interesting reading.

Re:Sony Teaches A Patent Extornionist A Lesson (1, Interesting)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207248)

So Microsoft settles for 26 million [com.com] and they caved, but Sony settles for 150 million and its a great victory? Thats quite the spin there.

I don't know why an absolutely huge Sony fanboy is going around calling other people fanboys. Seriously, I hope you're employed by Sony, because its sad to think that someone could be so devoted to a company.

Obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206254)

*Immersion flips Sony over and hits them for MASSIVE DAMAGE*

Jut need to So ignoring the loss on each Ps3, sony (1)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206300)

So ignoring the loss on each Ps3, So ignoring the loss on each Ps3, sony only has to sell 250,000 more units to recover from this. Piece o cake ;-)

Compensation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206354)

As if having rumble controllers on the PS3 is going to save them.
You can't bring back a gimmick to save a product that not many care about in the first place.
Hey, Sony, here's an idea; STOP BEING ASSHOLES

Re:Compensation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206434)

Good advice dillhole!!!

What did Mircosoft pay? (2, Interesting)

GrayCalx (597428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206486)

Anyone know what Microsoft paid Immersion? I'd like to know if they saved anything by just owning up and paying for it. Or who knows maybe Sony got a deal by putting up a fight.

Re:What did Mircosoft pay? (3, Informative)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206790)

Or who knows maybe Sony got a deal by putting up a fight.

I don't think so. Sony was sued for $300 in "damages", which we know is always on the high end of things. They're settling for half of that. From the numbers in the article, it looks like they could have licensed the tech for about 50 million (or less), since they've already paid 30 million in compulsory license fees, plus another 20ish for licensing through 2009. Of course, this also isn't factoring in any court fees or their own lawyer costs.

Re:What did Mircosoft pay? (1)

GrayCalx (597428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207220)

I tried doing some searching and found this...

"Under the deal, Microsoft will pay Immersion $26 million for licensing rights and for a stake in the company [20 for licensing and a 6million "investment" from microsoft, Immersion also was allowed to borrow 9 million and pay microsoft back with stock], Immersion said Tuesday."

Buuut I'm not sure what the original claim asked for soo, who knows.

Re:What did Mircosoft pay? (1)

EggyToast (858951) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207328)

I imagine the 30+% increase in their stock price made Microsoft quite happy, if they still have the shares.

Re:What did Mircosoft pay? (1)

gamer4Life (803857) | more than 7 years ago | (#18208580)

Microsoft did not "own" up. Rather, they did the despicable thing and gave credibility to the patent troll company (think SCO), by funding them. It's these sorts of practices that should convince people to boycott the Xbox 360.

Re:What did Mircosoft pay? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209888)

Pqatent trolls are companies that buy patents and use them, Immersion actually invented these things. IIRC they were the company that invented that whole Force Feedback fad back in the late 90s.

Re:What did Mircosoft pay? (2, Informative)

gamer4Life (803857) | more than 7 years ago | (#18212844)

http://biz.gamedaily.com/industry/myturn/?id=13861 [gamedaily.com]

Nintendo did it first.

And seriously, "game controllers and other devices to vibrate in response to certain events that happen during a game" - how hard is it to think of that? Cellphones, pagers and vibrators were already vibrating in response to certain events. It's a patent that didn't require much to think of, and should never have been awarded.

Re:What did Mircosoft pay? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215746)

Patents aren't about the underlying idea, they are about the implementation.

Also, the nonobvious part seems to be applying that to games and making the game control it, the technology would have been available at the time of the Atari 2600 if it was so obvious that it's a good idea.

Re:What did Mircosoft pay? (1)

gamer4Life (803857) | more than 7 years ago | (#18220792)

Patents aren't about the underlying idea, they are about the implementation.


Tell that to RIM.

Also, the nonobvious part seems to be applying that to games and making the game control it, the technology would have been available at the time of the Atari 2600 if it was so obvious that it's a good idea.


Cost? technology? Processing power? I'm sure there were many other factors that rendered force feedback infeasible back in the 80s. And by the time Immersion came up with the idea (not the implementation), Nintendo had already put it in it's Rumble Pak, and there were vibrators and vibrating cellphones and pagers.

Re:What did Mircosoft pay? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18225142)

Tell that to RIM.

But RIM isn't being sued over the same patent.

Cost? technology? Processing power? I'm sure there were many other factors that rendered force feedback infeasible back in the 80s.

We're talking about something that can be built from Legos. All the processor would have to do is regulate the amount of power the motor gets. About as tech intensive as implementing sound.

Re:What did Mircosoft pay? (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210974)

Sony gave them money too. Thus the article. Should we boycott the PS3 too?

Re:What did Microsoft pay? (2, Insightful)

gamer4Life (803857) | more than 7 years ago | (#18212640)

Sony at least tried to fight the ridiculous patent. I'd say Sony went to much further lengths than Microsoft did, hence Sony deserves more respect than Microsoft in this regard.

Where's Nintendo in this? (3, Interesting)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206552)

I'm curious as to why the guys didn't go after Nintendo - not that I am want them to, just curious.

Re:Where's Nintendo in this? (5, Informative)

wynler (678277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206678)

Nintendo's rumble-pak technology was based on a different design to a patent that Nintendo holds.

Re:Where's Nintendo in this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18214496)

Translation: We didn't sue because would get our asses handed to us.

Re:Where's Nintendo in this? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18225148)

Why? Patents cover how you did it, not what it does. You can't patent "curing cancer" but you can patent a drug that cures cancer.

Re:Where's Nintendo in this? (1)

Afrosheen (42464) | more than 7 years ago | (#18210058)

Because compared to anything else that rumbles, Nintendo's tech sucks. Immersion didn't even want to mess with them. "What, Nintendo uses rumble? Since when?" an Immersion exec was quoted saying.

Let's see.... (4, Interesting)

cdneng2 (695646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206626)

So let's see, rumble technology is soooo last generation [cubed3.com], but we've made an expensive agreement to offer it for anything new we've developed. We can force anyone who's rich enough to have bought a PS3 to buy new controllers to upgrade. (If they really want this ancient technology.)

PS3 owners should be really exploiting the motion sensitivity of the PS3 as this is sooo current generation. So current generation that our developers haven't made many games for it. (Although the Wii is obviously a gimmick [1up.com].)

Our supply system is so good [igniq.com], that we have PS3s sitting on people's shelves. (Although I defy anyone of you from trying to find any PS3s! [penny-arcade.com])

I feel so sorry for the SONY PR department. I honestly don't think the Sony Playstation development department knows what they're doing at all with the PS3 anymore. The PR department is running around trying cover up the Sony Product Development blunders with every step they take.

Re:Let's see.... (3, Insightful)

tzhuge (1031302) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207194)

I think that's backwards. Product development knows exactly what they're doing. They followed the guidelines provided marketing, legal and the executives provided to develop a product. It's not their fault that those guidelines weren't well thought out or that marketing could do a better job by just keeping their mouths shut.
  1. Legal: "We haven't settled the lawsuit yet. No rumble. -> Dev: no rumble -> Marketing: "Oh it's so last gen... blah blah"
  2. Executive: "Use Blu-Ray because we're invested in it." -> Dev: Blu-Ray -> Marketing: "Games are like so massive it blows your mind man! BLUUUU-RAY!"
  3. Executive: "Use Cell... because ?" -> Dev: Cell -> Executive: "IT'S LIKE THE MATRIX, BUT REAL!"
  4. Profit

Re:Let's see.... (2, Insightful)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207380)

I think you're spot on.

While product developement isn't perfect, many of their problems come from ridiculous requirements from disconnected marketers and management. Kaz Hirai or Ken Kutaragi may have some technical know-how, but most of the people in the chain won't, or if they do it's likely out of date. As such, requirements not "mired" in reality will be given to the developers.

I'm pretty sure at some point the marketers angrily summmoned the hardware folks to a meeting, asking them how the hell they thought a system costing $900 to manufacture was satisfactory. The only answer to which was "Well, the only other options were all $1200 or more because of all the features you wanted".

Considering what they had to work with, the developers did a great job. However, this wasn't what PR wanted. PR wanted everything the PS3 is and more, and probably wanted it cheaper. As such, they haven't the faintest idea how to market it. They likely had brilliant and intricate strategies planned before reality hit them like a runaway train.

Sony's biggest problem isn't their console, its their PR. The PS3 isn't a bad system, though quite expensive. It's just a poorly marketed one, and it shocks me that Sony hasn't fired their PR staff yet.

Re:Let's see.... (1)

British (51765) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207212)

I feel so sorry for the SONY PR department. I honestly don't think the Sony Playstation development department knows what they're doing at all with the PS3 anymore. The PR department is running around trying cover up the Sony Product Development blunders with every step they take.

Sony's PR department reminds me of the wacky Iraqi Information Minister during the war. He just says things that are the opposite of the truth and does it with a straight face.

I'm no video game marketing expert, but don't try to dictate to your customers what they will like(sixaxis) and dismissing what they want as last-gen(rumble).

Re:Let's see.... (4, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207740)

PS3 owners should be really exploiting the motion sensitivity of the PS3 as this is sooo current generation. So current generation that our developers haven't made many games for it. (Although the Wii is obviously a gimmick.)


Having taken apart my PS3's controller to clean it, I'd have to disagree.

First of all - there's no way SIXAXIS was designed for manufacturing (when you build millions, you tend to do a hardware revision for manufacturability - save the assembly worker 5 minutes can be huge (can mean she builds another unit in say, 30 minutes), or find a way to save a penny or a dime... (which save you $10,000 or $100,000 per million units)). There are so many fiddly little pieces that are almost symmetrical that you really need a +10 agility boost just to put the thing together. There are also three circuitboards in it - mainboard, button flexi-board, and motion sensor board (take note - this is important). Sure you do it "next revision", but still.

Secondly, because the motion sensor board is on a separate PCB, it's connected via wires, covered in foam tape, and stuffed in a little alcove on the button chassis. The alcove wasn't designed to hold a circuit board - it's just a little square area. Which means the board is more likely than not to be skewed when its inserted into it. This skew alone makes it difficult to design really good motion sensing games because the accellerometer's axes are all aligned in a random orientation (the alcove doesn't provide any sort of orientation slots, either). Nintendo's Wiimote has the sensor soldered to the main PCB, so the only variance is how the pick'n'place machine puts parts down, and plastic tolerance, but it'll be fairly closely aligned. Sony's design can mean the sensor is oriented quite randomly, and that "up" is "down" to the sensor and what not (or more likely, "down-right" or "down-left"). Oddly enough, I'm sure the space on the main PCB occupied by the motion sensor's 4pin connector is larger than the sensor chip itself. I suspect that somewhere along the manufacturing line the SIXAXIS undergoes some high accellerations (which can destroy the tiny MEMS in the accellerometer if mounted improperly - usually even dropping the sensor on the floor can do it) - perhaps when the populating is done it's all tossed into a big container and the shock of the boards hitting the walls and other boards could damage a large number of them.

So without calibration, the motion sensor is fairly useless if the player has to figure out how to rotate the controller to get the motion it needs.

Fun trivia - the PlayStation logo is designed to light up - the button material below it is translucent and pokes down throught he button chassis to two pads on the main circuitboard - an LED is supposed to go there, but isn't populated. Wonder why that changed... it really would look nicer if it was lit up.

Re:Let's see.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18207982)

Fun trivia - the PlayStation logo is designed to light up - the button material below it is translucent and pokes down throught he button chassis to two pads on the main circuitboard - an LED is supposed to go there, but isn't populated. Wonder why that changed... it really would look nicer if it was lit up.
You can stick an LED in there, it's a pretty common mod for the sixaxis.

http://ps3mods.blogspot.com/2007/01/sixaxis-5th-le d-mod.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Let's see.... (2, Interesting)

c4miles (249464) | more than 7 years ago | (#18211280)

Orientation of the motion sensor circuit board is irrelevant. There is a constant 'acceleration' due to gravity that can be used as a baseline to zero the accelerometers.

Re:Let's see.... (1)

Burpmaster (598437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215868)

Orientation of the motion sensor circuit board is irrelevant. There is a constant 'acceleration' due to gravity that can be used as a baseline to zero the accelerometers.

That means you know what direction is down in terms of the accelerometer's axes, but you still don't know the orientation of the controller. That's important information if, for example, you're using the controller as a steering wheel like some Wii games do, and you need to know the 'centered' position.

It's possible that the PS3 controller is calibrated during manufacture. I know that Wiimotes have their axis sensitivity calibrated during manufacture. If the sixaxis is calibrated to know its orientation during manufacture, they only need to make sure their motion sensor is secured in place and doesn't move afterward.

Re:Let's see.... (1)

springbox (853816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207760)

I can't wait for Sony to say something like: "Yes, rumble is a last generation technology, but this is Force Feedback!"

Re:Let's see.... (1)

Swanktastic (109747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18208664)

I call BS on Sony claiming rumble is a "last-gen" technology considering they wanted to integrate it into the PS3 controller all the way up until the date they lost the initial claim.

However, this case is all about settling the damages related to sales of PS2 controllers and has nothing to with the PS3 now that the design has been changed. Microsoft's settlement is far less than Sony's for two reasons- they settled earlier in the process and, most importantly, Sony sold a hell of a lot more PS2 rumble controllers than MS sold Xbox rumble controllers. As far as a court is concerned, Sony deserves to pay more damages which are based on some sort of cost-per-unit-sold calculation.

Sony only licensed the patent until 2009. I find it unlikely they would sell a new rumble PS3 controller for 2 more years, then scramble to come up with an alternative. This settlement is all about the past, not the future.

I heard... (1)

jlf278 (1022347) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206970)

There's a rumor that they will release the new rumble device as Mr. Rumblor - a wiimote shaped device with no buttons, but an odd mushroom-like top.

Cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18207420)

Now they'll totally be worth $600!

Re:Cool! (1)

GreatDrok (684119) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207642)

"Now they'll totally be worth $600!"

But will it be worth $832?

FYI the PS3 is £425 in the UK which is how I got to the above number.

Re:Cool! (2, Informative)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207836)

But will it be worth $832? FYI the PS3 is £425 in the UK which is how I got to the above number.
That likely includes VAT (i.e. 17.5% sales tax); ex. VAT it's £362.

If I'm right, listed U.S. prices don't normally include sales tax; and however much- if any- they have to pay is irrelevant, since Sony don't get any of that money (nor have any choice in whether to charge it or not).

Re:Cool! (1)

MrDoh1 (906953) | more than 7 years ago | (#18208592)

"If I'm right, listed U.S. prices don't normally include sales tax"

Just for the record, in the US sales tax is generally 8.5% or less, and you are correct, it is not usually included in prices. Though I'm not certain, in most places it is less than that. Where I am in Texas it is 8.25% and I consider that a bit high. When I left Florida the sales tax was 7%. It's also worth noting that neither of these two states have a state income tax so it's not like the sales tax is lower due to a statewide income tax.

Great (1, Troll)

finkployd (12902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207464)

Those will look really nice on the shelf next to the dozen or so PS3s I see in every store as I try to find a Wii :(

Finkployd

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18209016)

OT: Try Sears. They don't have a typical gamer demographic and a lot of gamers don't think to check them. The Wii's do sell out quickly, but I went to one the other day and managed to find three remotes, a couple Points cards, and a copy of Wii play. Only problem is it's kinda painful to track shipments, you kind of just have to call all the stores in your area every day when they open, but if you find a store with one in stock, they will set it aside for you (risky!), and you can even pay for it over the phone w/ a credit card so you know nobody will sell it out from under you. I talked to the sales guys, Nintendo pays them a good commission on Wiis, so they'll go out of their way to make sure you get yours if you pay for it over the phone.

Re:Great (1)

finkployd (12902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18209054)

I'm putting my chances on a seedy looking K-Mart close by, but thanks for the tip.

Finkployd

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18212694)

The super target near me gets approx 60 Wii consoles per week. They put them out Sunday morning, but they're sold out 1/2 hour or less after the store opens - if you get there 15 min before the store opens you'll probably get one though (assuming all targets get the same amount and put them out on Sundays). Try asking the electronics staff when they come in - they're fairly helpful if they know you've been trying to find one for a few months.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18255398)

That's a really great idea. I actually got my Wii at a really shady K-Mart a couple of weeks ago. Because of the somewhat seedy condition of the neighborhood, this particular K-Mart does not put game systems out on the shelves, and instead keeps them in the back until people ask for them, so it's possible that they could have Wiis in stock for days and no one except the staff knows it if no one bothers to ask. Anyway, I asked if they had one on a Saturday afternoon, and they said yes. No waiting in line, no calling ahead, nothing. They also had a copy of Wii play, and this was the Saturday after it was released. So seriously, keep looking there and I'll bet you'll find one before you know it.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18213372)

And they all had DUST on them!! LOLZZORS!!!

Fuckin' fanboys.

Sad to see Sony cave into the patent trolls... (1)

gamer4Life (803857) | more than 7 years ago | (#18208472)

Microsoft has a history of supporting trolls - just take a look at SCO. This time, they settled with the patent troll company Immersion, and proceeded to buy a 40% stake in the company.

This will benefit PS3 owners, but the public ultimately lost.

Re:Sad to see Sony cave into the patent trolls... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18208848)

So let me get this straight: a company patents a technology, one that they market and sell, and anyone else can come in and use it as they please? Immersion is not in the wrong here - Sony is. Sony lost this case years ago (I forget when exactly) and kept fighting and fighting to not have to pay. Microsoft settled because loss to Immersion was inevitable.

Note, though, that Sony's settlement and licensing agreements does not mean that the PS3 will be getting rumble any time soon. I'm surprised Sony finally caved - then again, perhaps they can't appeal the decision any further - but any future licensing agreements is likely just to ensure that Sony could continue to manufacture DualShock2 controllers going forward, since they'll sell PS2s as long as they possibly can. It's possible that they'll redesign the PS3 controller, but I wouldn't expect that for quite a while.

Re:Sad to see Sony cave into the patent trolls... (1)

gamer4Life (803857) | more than 7 years ago | (#18212420)

Immersion was awarded a ridiculous patent - vibration - which was found in many electronic devices already - pagers, cell phones, vibrators, and Nintendo's Rumble Pak.

Rather than fight a patent that shouldn't have been granted at all, Microsoft decided to team up with the patent troll, for the purpose of hindering their competitor, much like they did with SCO and Linux. I suppose you support that as well.

Sony recognized the patent was ludicrous and did the best they could at voiding the patent. Unfortunately they lost.

Re:Sad to see Sony cave into the patent trolls... (1)

enharmonix (988983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217442)

Immersion was awarded a ridiculous patent - vibration - which was found in many electronic devices already - pagers, cell phones, vibrators, and Nintendo's Rumble Pak.

As others have pointed out, the patent applies specifically to vibration in game controllers vibrate, so all those other devices you mention are right out. It also relates to a specific type of feedback that allows the rumble device to feel like it's being pushed/pulled in a specific direction, whereas other forms of vibration just sort of shake without going anywhere. Sony & MS used this technology, Nintendo didn't. Guess who pays the fees and who doesn't?

Rather than fight a patent that shouldn't have been granted at all, Microsoft decided to team up with the patent troll, for the purpose of hindering their competitor, much like they did with SCO and Linux. I suppose you support that as well.

In this case, this is more a problem with the legal system than it is with the patent system - sometimes it's just cheaper to settle. The fact that MS licensed the technology after the fact does not, however, imply that the patent is invalid. Only if MS challenged the patent and won would we have any reason to believe it's not valid. Patent reform doesn't just mean invalidating junk patents, it also means defending legitimate patents.

Sony recognized the patent was ludicrous and did the best they could at voiding the patent. Unfortunately they lost.

Then obviously the court didn't think the patent was so ridiculous after all. Bogus patents become a problem when it's cheaper to settle than it is to litigate, but if Sony fought it and lost, I think we should all agree that they lost fair and square.

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