Sony and Immersion patch up

Electronics giant settles suit with creator of DualShock controller's rumble feature; both companies now "exploring" putting tech back into PlayStation products.

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Two years ago, a judge sided with Immersion Corporation in that company's suit against Sony, ordering the electronics giant to pay $82 million for patent infringement. Immersion claimed the rumble feature in the PlayStation's DualShock controllers was based on its own technology.

Now the two companies have put the patent dispute behind them and have formed a new agreement "to explore the inclusion of Immersion technology in PlayStation format products." The Immersion announcement does not mention the PlayStation 3 specifically, but the system's Sixaxis controller has been criticized for not having a rumble mechanism, a feature shared by the competing Xbox 360 and Wii, as well as the last generation of gaming consoles.

"Our new business agreement with Sony Computer Entertainment is specifically intended to enable advanced vibration capability for the benefit of the PlayStation gaming community," Immersion CEO Victor Viegas said in a statement. "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."

A Sony representative gave the following comment: "We are very pleased to have reached a cooperative agreement with Immersion regarding the use of its advanced vibration technology (haptics technology). We look forward to working closely with them as we explore new and innovative ways to utilize this technology in PlayStation products."

According to an Associated Press report, Immersion will receive more than $97 million in damages and interest, as well as $22.5 million in licensing payments from Sony over three years. That's in addition to more than $30 million Sony has already paid for licensing the technology.

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