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PlayStation 3 does not support force feedback… yet?

Driving Force ProAlright. This is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I was mildly irritated that the PS3 did not support rumble, but I was pretty certain that if I wanted a full on driving experience I would be able to hook up one of Logitech’s excellent Driving Force Pro wheels. Apparently this is not so; said Sony Computer Entertainment America:

All PS3 games are programmed for the SIXAXIS which doesn’t have force Feedback, therefore the force Feedback in the wheels won’t be recognized.

Except it is never that simple. Rumblings on the web state that some PS3 games, particularly in Japan, make full use of force feedback steering wheels already with GTHD, Ridge Racer 7 and Need for Speed: Carbon standing out. So that means that its absence in the US is clearly nothing to do with tilt technology.

This leaves only one reason that I can see. The lack of feedback is blatantly a result of Sony’s legal issues with Immersion. Apparently both sides return to the courtroom this week, but I am tired of all this. Sony needs to recognise that its customers do use force feedback and Gran Turismo is one of the more blatant examples where tilt functionality cannot be used as a replacement for something that many players find fundamental to the experience. You can count the Gran Turismo creator Kaz Yamamuchi amongst these people. So please Sony, I know Immersion have put you in a headlock here and are trying to grab as much money as possible, but I really do not care anymore. I will (grudgingly) pay a bit over the odds to get force feedback if I have to. Just sort it out! Force Feedback on PS3? Not so much.

As commentators down the page have revealed Sony’s own Phil Harrison said, as recently as November, that Force Feedback would be available to game developers. Still, that doesn’t explain why some games in Japan seem to have Force Feedback, whilst the same titles in the US do not. It may still be a patent dispute though. Immersion are definitely the original people behind Force Feedback, their logo being visible on the side of Logitech’s DFP boxes.