Dual Shock 3: Immersed or Not?

So the new Dual Shock 3 controller might not be incorporating Immersion’s TouchSense technology. Can’t we just get a clear answer on this already? GameDaily’s interviewed the company’s CEO, Vic Viegas, and he’s not being too explicit, either. Rather, he just parrots Sony’s own response to the matter:

 “If Sony said it’s the same, then that’s correct. To clarify, the relationship we have with Sony is that we provided them with a patent license, so they can develop technology and make improvements on their own and that would be covered under our patent portfolio – they have the rights to do that. … But if they say it’s the old technology, I’ll take them at their word.”

So, really, Viegas has no clue, either. The problem is that this seems to conflict with several journalist impressions (such as 1UP’s Shane “Mangod” Bettenhausen stating that their experiences on the TGS show floor felt distinctly different from what they’d remembered using the Dual Shock 2. Of course, some are willing to cast aspersions on the credibility of these fine journos, citing that Shane, in particular, is a “Sony Fanboy.”

According to Viegas’ comment, though, the patent allows Sony to modify the pre-existing technology, meaning that while it may not be specifically TouchSense, it could be something in-between or altogether new. As of right now, it’s hard to tell what TouchSense really offers. I have seen no games or commercial controllers that incorporate the technology, which makes me wonder if it’s all that much greater than what’s already out there. Of course Viegas, ever the company advocate, has no trouble reciting the same bullet points you’ll see on Immersion’s website:

 “I believe it’s actually less expensive. The old technology utilizes two motors to create the complex set of sensations, whereas Immersion’s new TouchSense technology utilizes a single motor, but we drive the motor in unique ways so that you can get stronger yet crisper effects…”

Developer comments don’t convince me. You always get those sort of things from people who’ve likely been invited in to see new technology for a day. I’m sure it’s intriguing enough, but without any solid proof, I refuse to believe it’s as revolutionary as Immersion thinks it is. Remember when Steve Jobs said that entire cities would be built around the Segway? Mmm-hmm.

According the Viegas, Sony’s aware of the technology, but hasn’t talked with them recently about implementing TouchSense. So maybe the Dual Shock 3 was really pushed as a way to appease existing developers and in-house staff (like those working on Gran Turismo 5), instead of treating consumers to something new. It’s certainly nice to have rumble back, but why not take it that extra step?

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~ by Cavin Smith on October 3, 2007.

2 Responses to “Dual Shock 3: Immersed or Not?”

  1. I hope it does include the TouchSense controller soon. Why have the very best gaming platform and an old controller? IMMR owns the patents for TouchSense check out http://www.equitygroups.com/nasd/immr.html that site has a ton of Info!

  2. Well, Immersion says they’ll keep talking to Sony about incorporating the technology directly. That doesn’t rule out *another* controller revision in the future.

    I’m not too keen on that idea, though. We already have enough SKUs to deal with for the actual console, why is it imperative that we continue to buy controller upgrades, as well?

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