TGS. Last week. Sony finally get around to officially announcing a rumbling controller, and you did one of two things. One is that you accept the news. Graciously. You forget that this should have been there from day one, that it was only absent because Sony stubbornly refused to settle a lawsuit with Immersion and that they... well, they sold you a lie. Straight up. And you're happy! You've got rumble in your SixAxis!
The other thing you do is remember all those things, shrug and say "Hmpf, well it's about bloody time". Then you see the Western release date of 2008. Then maybe you get a little upset. Especially if you've got anything to do with the business of trying to shift PS3s.See, the PS3 hasn't had the easiest of times. You may have heard. Delayed launches, ridiculous price-tags and a dearth of quality games mean the PS3 hasn't exactly flown off the shelf. And still really isn't: because Sony's been reluctant to settle on things like a HDD size, on a feature list, on backwards-compatibility and yes, rumble, a lot of consumers have been holding off, wondering when the system will settle down so they don't get burned on an early purchase.
This, though? This was a chance to get something right. They could have announced the DualShock 3 in time for Christmas, quietly put the whole "rumble is last-gen thing" to bed and moved on. They could have put one in every PS3 box about to be shipped to retail and people would have been happy. They could have stopped waiting for Sony to settle on just what was going inside the box and actually gone out and bought one.
But no! Instead, for the next few months, every PS3 sold is going to be sold with what is from this moment an, ironically, outdated controller. And a lot of people who would be considering the purchase of a PS3 will know this, and may just hold off. No point buying a console now when a better, proper controller is coming in a few months time, is there? Those things aren't cheap.
This is especially the case for PAL territories, where the 80GB starter packs come with two Sixaxis controllers. Do Sony expect people to buy one of these packs when we now know, for certain, that the controllers are to be replaced in less than six months?
I think they do. And that's taking the piss. Controllers don't need localisation, they don't need to be translated, they don't need to account for differences between NTSC and PAL. They get plugged in, they work. Maybe they haven't manufactured enough (likely), maybe they're just being pricks (less, but still, likely), I don't know. All I know is they need the DualShock 3s in American and European stores NOW, not in 2008.
Sony needed this announcement to be a reason for people to buy a PS3, and to buy one this Christmas. Instead, it may well have given people outside Japan a reason not to buy one. At least not yet.