Immersion Corporation, a company specializing in vibration technologies, believes that both Microsoft and Nintendo have left Sony behind when talking about the rumble and vibration technology in their respective controls.
Immersion president and CEO Vic Viegas made this statement to the company’s investors during the earnings presentation in Q2 2017. According to him, as Microsoft and Nintendo invested in new and more advanced forms of tactile interaction, Sony still uses the same vibration technology of the 90’s. He said:
“Sony is the only major console provider, who has basically not updated its rumble feature since the late 90s. Whereas others, like our licensees Microsoft and Nintendo have continued their investments in advanced haptics. Microsoft has introduced trigger functionality in the Xbox One and Nintendo has leaped ahead of the market with HD rumble.”
The CEO of Immersion cited as examples of this breakthrough the vibration in the triggers of control of the Xbox One and the HD Rumble present in the controls of the Nintendo Switch.
Still in 2004, Immersion sued Sony and Microsoft for allegedly using company-wide vibration technologies on the PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and original Xbox controls. Nintendo was not prosecuted because it used proprietary technology at the time.
Microsoft quickly entered into an agreement with the company, bought 10 percent of its shares, and paid $20 million to license the technology. While Sony continued with the case in court and ended losing the dispute, details of the amount of the fine were not disclosed. Sometime later, in 2007, Immersion and Sony reached an agreement to prevent PS1 and PS2 controls, which contained proprietary technologies, from being removed from the stores. Kazuo Hirai, president of Sony, even said in an interview:
“We are working closely with Immersion to deliver the largest and best range of gameplay experiences to our customers. We are very excited about this new partnership and the potential for innovative products it brings. ”
Interestingly, Microsoft sued Immersion for the deal with Sony. Subsequently, the company paid about $ 20 million to Microsoft in an agreement to terminate the case. Even Apple has already caught the eye of Immersion for patent infringement.