Playstation 3 Ready to Rumble, But Not Go Home

Enter the Playstation 3 DUALSHOCK Wireless Controller, announced in Tokyo yesterday, coming as a standalone accessory in November to Japan and spring 2008 to North America and Europe

You win some, you lose some, and sometimes it's better to put your foot in your mouth than on the hands of gamers, who probably know better than to take you seriously anyway when you call something like force feedback a "last generation feature." Enter the Playstation 3 DUALSHOCK Wireless Controller, announced in Tokyo yesterday, coming as a standalone accessory in November to Japan and spring 2008 to North America and Europe. Welcome back force feedback, we sure did miss ya.

For posterity, let's revisit what Harrison told GameDaily in an interview last February, after being asked "If gamers want it and are vocal enough, will Sony reintroduce the force feedback at some point?"

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.

Translation: Boy were we ever mad at those Immersion Corporation guys for suing us and alleging that our game console controllers were infringing on two of their patents. These guys have some cumulative 600 patents, while we do a cool 1,000-plus annually -- just who do they think they are? But okay, after paying them US$97.2 million and royalties plus US$30.6 million in compulsory license fees (and another US$22.5 million through 2009) which, it turns out, had no impact on our consolidated earnings forecast back in January, I guess we can be friends again. Oh, and that stuff we said about rumble being "last-gen"? Joke!

Update: GamePro has hands-on impressions of the new DUALSHOCK controller here. Short version: "It lacks punch."

Playstation 3 Home Delayed Until 2008

Originally targeted for an autumn launch, Sony's Playstation 3 based social networking alternative to Microsoft's Xbox LIVE and Nintendo's Mii Channel, dubbed simply "Home," has been delayed until sometime in early 2008. Why? Because, said Sony Computer Entertainment bigwig Kazuo Hirai at the Tokyo Game Show, it's still not up to snuff.

Not happy news for a company that in August was still trailing Microsoft in console sales by 146,000 and Nintendo by a staggering 273,000 units. According to NPD data, Microsoft has to-date sold more Xbox 360 software than Sony or Nintendo combined. Sony really needs a pick-me-up soon if it's going to achieve what intelligence forecasting firm DFC suggested yesterday.

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Matt Peckham

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