Immersion survey suggests Sony better get ready to rumble

Press releases are boring. We go through literally hundreds of them a day, and for the most part, they're self-serving documents full of half-truths and inflated claims about products and services. So imagine our delight when we stumbled upon this little doozy of a release from marketing firm Ipsos Insight, which details a study done on behalf of the Immersion Corporation concerning gamers' preferences and purchasing plans with regards to the trio of next-generation consoles. You probably remember Immersion as the company that successfully sued Sony over the use of computer-controlled vibration technology in its PlayStation and PS2 Dual Shock controllers, and since Sony has apparently neither paid Immersion the $90 million it owes nor licensed the rumble tech for its SIXAXIS PS3 gamepads, the release comes across as a thinly-veiled reminder that gamers really, really like playing with input devices that shake and buzz in their sweaty hands.

Not only does the (completely unbiased) poll report that 72% of the 1,075 respondents agree vibration feedback enhances their game experience, it goes on to note that 59% of those surveyed would prefer rumble on the PS3 controller, while only 8% care about motion / tilt sensing (sorry, Nintendo). As if these numbers didn't paint a clear enough picture of the message Immersion is trying to convey, two further questions spell it out even more explicitly: when asked if the lack of rumble capabilities would affect their buying decisions (apparently 74% of those polled weren't even aware of the "no rumble" policy -- clearly no Engadget readers amongst that bunch), 5% said that it would definitely cause them not to buy a PS3 and 32% claimed that they were less likely to pick one up for this reason and this reason alone. Now obviously Immersion knew exactly the results that it wanted before it conducted this "study," and probably phrased the questions in order to get the most desirable data set, but even non-statistics majors like ourselves could have figured out that gamers accustomed to the fun of Dual Shock would be in for a letdown the first time they picked up a rumble-free SIXAXIS controller.

Okay, Sony, the cards are on the table, and even if these numbers are skewed, you know full well that you can't be the only player in the game without a little vibration action going on. So what's it gonna be: are you going to keep hoping that some appeals court finally overturns the numerous prior decisions against you, or are you going to shell out some dough just like Microsoft and Nintendo did, and finally give the majority of your target audience what it wants? To us, it doesn't really seem like much of a choice at all.