Sony and Immersion Kiss and Make Up

When Sony Computer Entertainment declared that its PlayStation 3 would not make use of rumble motors in its Sixaxis controller, allegedly due to difficulties in integrating the feature with the controller's motion sensing technology, SCE Worldwide Studios head Phil Harrison described rumble as "a last generation feature." Many industry observers, however, maintained that the exclusion of rumble was not due to technical difficulties or obsolescence in the wake of motion sensing but rather due to a protracted patent-centered battle over between Sony and prominent rumble tech developer Immersion Corporation. Immersion CEO Victor Viegas publicly stated on several occasions that the company could have easily integrated rumble and motion-sensing in the same product.

A joint announcement today from Sony and Immersion lends credence to such speculation, as the two companies stated they have buried the legal hatchet and intend to work together in the future. Though there were no specific products named, Sony will at some point be adapting Immersion technology into PlayStation platforms. Whether this means PS3 rumble support for developers and new controllers to make use of it is still up in the air.

"We are pleased to have put this litigation behind us," said Viegas. "Our new business agreement with Sony Computer Entertainment is specifically intended to enable advanced vibration capability for the benefit of the PlayStation gaming community. We are happy to provide our technology in this regard and hope to make technical proposals very soon with respect to use of our technology in the PlayStation products."

"We look forward to exploring with Immersion exciting new ways to bring the largest and best range of gameplay experiences to our customers," said SCEI president Kazuo Hirai, who has stated in the past that a PS3 controller with both rumble and motion-sensing would be cost-prohibitive. "We are very excited about our new partnership with Immersion and the potential for new and innovative products incorporating their technologies."

Financial terms relating to the agreement were not disclosed.