Reports are trickling through this evening that Sony has indeed lost its patent case against Immersion technologies and will be forced to halt sales of its PS2 console.
Immersion last year sued Sony for infringing on its patents. Immersion claims that it owns the technology that powers the rumble in Sony's Dual Shock controllers. It also sued Microsoft for its rumble features in the Xbox, but the boys from Redmond settled out of court.
Sony fought on, and lost a case last year. However, it's been allowed to continue selling the PS2 pending appeal. If the latest reports are verified, it's lost that appeal today.
This means that Sony not only has to pony up and awful lot of cash to Immersion Technologies, but it has to stop infringing on the patent - that means stop selling kit which includes Dual Shock technology, and that means pulling the PS2 off the shelf.
Commentators are wondering if this case is the reason for the PS3 controller redesign that we've seen - it's possible the horrendous boomerang monstrosity doesn't infringe on patents.
Interestingly, Immersion is owned in part by Nintendo. The next-generation battle just took another twist...
Love the Dual Shock? Can't believe Sony will pull PS2 from the shelves? What exactly is Nintendo's game here, letting Microsoft settle and taking Sony to the cleaners? Let us know your speculation over in the forums, and we'll try to back up the reports we're seeing.
What does this all mean?
Sony's playstation has been virtually keeping the entire company above water. They don't have the revenue coming in to deal with such a loss. Sony isn't poor by any means (Nintendo is the smallest of the 3 giants, holding about $12 billion), but not only are they losing money on every year, not only do they have OTHER legal problems to deal with*
They have been doing better than they have been lately, but read this article carefully:
-blu-ray is a crucial part of reviving sony, and is expected to lose $86 million by March 31rst
-blu-ray is also a crucial part of the ps3, another crucial part of reviving sony
They have already had to push back the PS3 launch to November (http://www.nni.nikkei.co.jp/)
, so things aren't going well for them. Why?
TOKYO (Nikkei)--Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. will delay the release of its PlayStation 3 next-generation video game console until early November because the copy protection technology for the Blu-ray Disc has not been finalized, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun learned Tuesday.
These lawsuits have been going on for years. Nintendo and Microsoft have both paid, settled, and signed contracts. Sony has just told Immersion, the company with the patent, "screw you".
Immersions standard rate is 5%, sony currently paying 1.37% due to a judge's decision, and due to the way the court battles have gone (Sony has lost everything in every aspect so far), Immersion could possibly double or even triple what they normally charge and get away with it.
Not only will sony have to pay, Immersion chooses whether or not the PS2, and any periphials using the technology (including games) could be released. There would have to be a worldwide recall, repackaging, and reshipping of all of the ps2 consoles.
It could end up costing Sony around $1 billion, at a time that they are trying very hard to to introduce both blu-ray and playstation 3, and right in time to compete with nintendo's revolution.
If playstation 3 IS going to be taking 50% losses as rumored, that will be a HUGE hit to sony. If they don't allow those losses, they would have to sell their system for a good $700 at the least. Compared to revolution's proposed $199-$249? That's a pretty steep buy.