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Dual Shock 3 please, with a side of rumble

posted on September 20th, 2007 by matt

Well, it’s official, rumble is back. Officially dubbed the Dual Shock 3, Sony has “listened” to its fans and added the most basic of features to their much scoffed-at SIXAXIS controller. Isn’t it amazing?!

Yeah, not really. This should have been implemented with the PS3 before it even came out. This is Sony playing catch-up, but it’s not the cool kind, especially when they make people spend $600 on something that lacks an integral piece of the gaming equation.

And why did I surround the word listen with quotation marks in my introduction, you ask? It’s simple, my dear reader. Other than being clever/snooty, I was trying to point out that Sony knew not having rumble in their PS3 controller was a serious problem the entire time. They didn’t need to listen to their consumers to see if it was a problem or not. Sony isn’t THAT dumb (which is debatable, I’m sure).

What they did need to do was get rid of that pesky lawsuit they had with Immersion, the company responsible for the rumble tech that Sony used in their previous Dual Shock controllers. I’m sure Sony didn’t want to bore you with the details though, which is why we heard nothing about it from them.

How helpful of them. Remind me to send them a Thank You card.

If that lawsuit were settled before the PS3 was released, the SIXAXIS would never have existed. But of course, the only thing we heard from Sony was that rumble was “last-gen” material, not fit to be a part of the computational Mother Brain that is the PS3.

Funny they actually included it then, if it’s so passe.

What does this boil down to? It basically makes me realize that we should never listen to Sony. They know the real truth, but are too busy cleaning up their PR messes to say anything worthwhile anymore.

I mean, we all know rumble could work with motion control, which the Wii has proven with the wii-mote. We know it’s an awesome feature to have, as it helps the player become engaged with what is going on screen. So when we hear it’s last gen tech that needs to be forgotten, we know Sony is just trying to save face and not look like complete tools.

Which basically means Sony is being arrogant when they think we won’t figure out the truth.

Seriously, I feel like I’m a broken record when I talk about Sony.

[Photo courtesy of Next-Gen]


  1. Stefan said on September 21, 2007:

    As much as I’d sort of like it, no company’s PR department is going to do anything other than try to find the best spin when bad news comes up. If Sony had come forward and said “It’s decent, but it could be better if it had some of our competitor’s features”, or “Frankly, we want to add rumble so it will be like the wiimote and the 360 controller, but we screwed up a bit legally and it’s all taking longer than we wanted, so you guys will have to make do with less than the best.”, everyone would have been writing articles about how they had just shot themselves in the foot, and it would go down in history as a horrible PR moment.

    Alternatively, they could have stuck to their guns and avoided this sort of self-contradicting stance by refusing to ever add rumble to the controller, repeating the same message with perfect internal consistency. Although I have a feeling most people are going to care more about what the controller does than about the consistency of the PR statements surrounding its release.

    Either way, I think I personally would have appreciated it, but I still probably would not have bought a sufficient number of PS3s to make for all the sales lost to people who wanted it only because it was the baddest and most “next gen” console out there. What they did makes sense.

  2. christian said on September 21, 2007:

    The reason this bugs me still is that Sony could have avoided the lawsuit with Immersion. Microsoft decided to settle and ended up owning part of the company. Yes it was a bad deal for both MS and Sony, but one got it out of their hair so they could continue to deliver a product, while the other floundered around either because they couldn’t afford it or were too arrogant to worry about it until it was too late.

    This whole thing could have been prevented and they chose not to. Way to screw us consumers.

  3. jay said on September 21, 2007:

    Stefan, Sony could’ve just stated that they didn’t feel rumble was necessary. In my utopia, PR still spin things but they do it gracefully, not absurdly. Sony called rumble “last gen” instead of just saying “That’s a feature we chose not to pursue” and now they look like douches.

    And yes, every company does this. Bring me an example from anyone and I will gladly call them names.

  4. Stefan said on September 21, 2007:

    Okay Christian, I agree with you on that point. I don’t think I can blame their PR, but I can certainly blame either their legal team or whoever made the decision not to just bite the bullet and do what it took to get things settled before production.

  5. Stefan said on September 21, 2007:

    And Jay, the problem with saying, “we didn’t feel it was needed” or “That’s a feature we chose not to pursue” is that it immediately leaves people asking why. Those are statements of an choice they made, but not really reasons, whereas the “next gen” comment is a reason (if admittedly a kind of lame one). They could have handled it better, but in any case they needed a reason to have actively rejected the rumble before, in order to make it seem like their choice, because the real reason just doesn’t sound very flattering.

  6. jay said on September 21, 2007:

    PR people frequently don’t have reasons and it’s understood that they have nothing positive to say. Are you working with that publisher again? “We are currently not pursuing more opportunities with them at this time.” Are you releasing this game? “We have no current plans to release that game.”

    A reason could be as much as “We didn’t feel rumble was necessary and believe our controller is the way of the future.” Either a non-answer, which is often acceptable for PR, or an answer that didn’t belittle the technology they were about to adopt would work much better than what they chose.

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