New PlayStation 3 controller prototype is in developers' hands

One feature that is sorely missing from the PlayStation 3 SIXAXIS controller is rumble force feedback – something that is available on both the Xbox 360 and Wii controllers.

The missing feature is largely due to Sony’s legal battle with Immersion over the patent rights to force feedback controllers. Immersion eventually won over the courts, forcing Sony to ditch vibration from its SIXAXIS PS3 controllers.

#verything changed when Sony and Immersion settled their legal differences and entered into a licensing agreement that would allow the use of force feedback technology in Sony controller products. Following the announcement between the two companies, SCEA’s Jack Tretton said in an interview that the company was open to changing the SIXAXIS controller.

Reports during June from Sony sources said that the company has been working on new controller prototypes for several months. A recent update from Inner Bits now indicates that prototypes of the new controller have made their way to various game developers. Furthermore, the report also states that a new hardware revision of the controller – with improved motion sensing – has quietly hit the market, replacing the first generation model.

A Sony representative refused to confirm the status of rumbling controllers, but did say that new controller prototypes were sent out to the development community. "We have not added rumble [to PS3], and have no announcements regarding this feature," said SCEA’s Dave Karraker to GamePro.

"From time to time, we make minor enhancements to the controllers for our platforms," he said. "We recently sent out to the development community some new prototypes that have a slightly enhanced sensitivity for the analog sticks and the motion sensing within the Sixaxis controller. This is not a new controller, but is part of the normal development and evolution of controllers."

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