PlayStation is Behind On Rumble Features, Immersion Says
The trend setter in controller rumble falls behind on the technology.
Immersion Corporation, a developer of vibration technology used in game controllers, has stated that they believe Sony is behind in terms of rumble features compared to Microsoft and Nintendo.
This is surprising, considering the Dual Shock controller, the first mainstream rumble-feature controller, was implemented late into the original PlayStation cycle and cemented into all games moving forward on the PS2. President and CEO of Immersion, Vic Viegas, made the above statement at the company's most recent earnings call for Q2 2017. Nintendo and Microsoft have invested in advanced touch interaction, as easily seen in the Nintendo Switch's HD Rumble, but PlayStation has relied on rumble features dating back to the late 90's.
“Sony is the only major console provider, who has basically not updated its rumble feature since the late 90s”, Viegas said. “Whereas others, like our licensees Microsoft and Nintendo have continued their investments in advanced haptics.”
It is possible that this lack of upgrade is due to bad blood between Sony and Immersion, as back in 2004, Immersion sued Sony and Microsoft over copyright of their controller vibration technology. Microsoft settled soon after the lawsuit was made and swiftly purchased a 10% share in the company. Nintendo was never sued, due to using a different technology which Nintendo holds the patents to. Meanwhile, Sony didn't settle with Immersion until 2007, and only then because they wished to avoid suspension of controller sales containing Immersion technology.
In 2007, Sony President Kazuo Hirai said, "We look forward to exploring with Immersion exciting new ways to bring the largest and best range of gameplay experiences to our customers. We are very excited about our new partnership with Immersion and the potential for new and innovative products incorporating their technologies.”
Of course, in the crazy world of lawsuits, Microsoft later sued Immersion for settling with Sony, upon which Immersion agreed to pay Microsoft $20.75 million to settle the case. Is the lack upgrade due to a sore spot with Immersion? Or it simply an oversight of market trends?