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Thoughts on why FFB lost popularity?


Knock-Knock
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Any thoughts/ideas on why FFB joysticks has died out?

Too expensive to produce?

Too few sold?

 

Goes for small high end manufactures too. How come its not more common?

 

Id imagine a system like Fanatec use for their racing controllers, would fit perfectly. You have a base, on to which you can plug a wide range of different rims. So same concept just for a joystick, and we could pick and choose between various sticks, be it F-15, F-18, Mirage, Viggen, SU27, BF109 etc. etc. etc..

Clone'em with small changes, so licensing wouldnt explode the price :)

 

Sure, I guess with FBW its limited how much you feel, or would feel, in real life, or do they get some degree of feedback?

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Subject of patent infringement... nothing to be done until the patent will be aging :(

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Oh. Patent on the mechanism?

- Jack of many DCS modules, master of none.

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Whose patent, MS? Logitech is the most recent company to produce an FFB stick, though it was a bit of a disaster. TM makes FFB racing wheels but not sticks.

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As far as I remember there was a company called Immersion who sued Sony and MS for using a form of haptic devices. MS stopped producing Sidewinders in 2003-2004...

Logitech was affected later on.

 

In the end there are those suckers that made a job in America from hunting patents... we all are aware about those jerks. X-Plane is also endangered by some stupid claiming stupidity... sorry but cannot find bad enough words to address to those morons.

 

Wheels for some reasons were omitted in that patent.. this is why they still exists.

 

PS: found a link here

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Interesting. What did Immersion build/sell?

 

Hopefully, someone will come up with another way to skin that cat. I was never impressed by the gear grinding that seems to be inherent to the MS FFB stick. I have one that I have been wanting to sell for years.

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Oh, but thats just the tech underneath the force feedback devices. Goes for the mice that have vibration inside them too. All FFB wheels use that stuff - maybe with the exception of products for Playstation. There is a divide with the wheels, where wheels made for the XBox, dont work on Playstation, and the other way around. Yet both work on PC.

So you 'just' pay a license fee to Immersion, what ever that amounts too. Percentage of each unit sold I guess. That goes for pretty much everything on this planet anyway, where you are dealing with license fee's.

 

Not sure if the Direct Drive wheels circumvent that?

 

Shouldnt stop anyone from making FFB joysticks. Maybe the software developers stopped supporting it, thinking it was too gimmicky maybe, and it just fased out?

But on the other hand, its hard to buy a gamepad that doesnt have rumble/vibration tech inside them.


Edited by Knock-Knock

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Can't speak for anyone else, but for me when they were freely available in many guises on the market, I thought they were too expensive when compared to the non-FFB version of the same product, so couldn't see the value.

Should caveat I wasn't into flight sims at the time.

 

Obviously now I am and I've got some disposable income...

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... There is a divide with the wheels, where wheels made for the XBox, dont work on Playstation, and the other way around.

 

Because both Sony and MS charge license fees for peripherals. AFAIK they sell some kind of chip that handles the "secure" communication with the console.

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Interesting. What did Immersion build/sell?

 

 

NOTHING... they just reserved the patent and then used lawyers to earn some money...

I was reading some of the patents descriptions some time ago and I was really disgusted about their stupidity. They almost claim that walking by foot is their invention. "Immersion" is not even a company but just a bunch of such morons.

 

The license fee was too expensive for joysticks because they are not best sellers.. I guess wheels are selling way better and that could be a reason they might afford to pay that fee. We have to admit that is a lot easier to learn drive a car than a plane :D


Edited by Abburo

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Yes, I see. I looked them up and they are not stupid, just rather lame. The are a company, based on the fact that you can buy stock in them @ $11.50 at the moment (IMMR on the NASDAQ exchange).

 

I do agree that their practices are underhanded, to an extent, but this is the nature of patent law and how it can be abused legally.

 

Their IPO proposal even states this as their intended business model.

 

We currently focus on licensing our intellectual property for these feel-enabling technologies to manufacturers of computer peripherals in the computer entertainment and general purpose personal computing markets.

 

http://www.nasdaq.com/markets/ipos/company/immersion-corp-8190-2867


Edited by cichlidfan

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What I find confusing is that the patents (or at least the ones I've seen) only pertain to vibration as a method of feedback. I don't see why force loading, which is mostly what we want, would infringe the patent.

 

I would guess they have those bases covered as well.

 

Their IPO statement is nearly twenty years old and the status then was...

 

We hold 37 U.S. patents covering various aspects of our hardware and software technologies and have over 125 patent applications pending in the U.S. and abroad.

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Hadn't heard of them before, but it's surprising they got anywhere given that there are 3 core requirements for a patent to be valid in the US and simply saying "we patent haptic devices" or anything else along those lines violates all 3. I suspect the sued companies decided it was cheaper to settle than fight the bogus lawsuit.

 

In any case, I never found FFB to be anything but a cheap gimmick. Those devices always felt cheap and grindy.

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In any case, I never found FFB to be anything but a cheap gimmick. Those devices always felt cheap and grindy.

 

Here I fully disagree with you :)

I dream for an warthog/gunfighter precision combined with FFB.

 

Patents valability are for 20 years, so that we can hope in few years for FFB devices to come back.

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Restrictive patents are just a feeble excuse for not producing force feedback hardware. All that a patent means is that a percentage of the proceeds go to the entity that filed the patent if their technology is used.

 

I suspect the real reason is the minute market that flight simulation represents. Force feedback steering wheels feed into a much larger market - hence there is justification for the investment.

 

You don't see force feedback devices purely because there isn't a large enough market to justify their continued existence. If there was, they'd simply negotiate a deal with the patent holders - just like any manufacturer has to do when using other people's technology.

 

As for patent holders exercising their right to ownership. They're not morons, they just happen to be business minded, and have something to sell. Or would you prefer everyone just had a free for all, and ignored all intellectual rights? It might not be a good system, but it is the least worst one.

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There are mainly two types of patents:

- real proof ones

- fake or subversive ones.

 

Immersion is falling in second category.


Edited by Abburo

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Small gain margin I think is the main reason.

 

That patent is about vibration afaik something that can be removed from HOTASes without much to lose.

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Yes, I see. I looked them up and they are not stupid, just rather lame. The are a company, based on the fact that you can buy stock in them @ $11.50 at the moment (IMMR on the NASDAQ exchange).

 

I do agree that their practices are underhanded, to an extent, but this is the nature of patent law and how it can be abused legally.

 

Their IPO proposal even states this as their intended business model.

 

 

 

http://www.nasdaq.com/markets/ipos/company/immersion-corp-8190-2867

 

 

It might be legal, but that doesn't make it moral. There is a very popular and APT name for this kind of company. Patent Trolls. It also illustrates perfectly how perverted and twisted the patent system has become in most western countries.

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  • 2 weeks later...

FFB did not lose popularity - the tech is widely used in simracing wheels. It lost popularity in flight sims, because IL2. Apparently you could not be a proper Soviet Sniper Ace with FFB. Back in 2007 I saw a joystick buying guide stating to keep away from FFB sticks, cause you won't be accurate in IL2.

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FFB did not lose popularity - the tech is widely used in simracing wheels. It lost popularity in flight sims, because IL2. Apparently you could not be a proper Soviet Sniper Ace with FFB. Back in 2007 I saw a joystick buying guide stating to keep away from FFB sticks, cause you won't be accurate in IL2.

 

The joystick would vibrate when you pulled the trigger; makes sense.

 

As for patents, I heard that Microsoft was successful in the lawsuit that supposedly ended the msffb2. Is this true or not?

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As for patents, I heard that Microsoft was successful in the lawsuit that supposedly ended the msffb2. Is this true or not?

 

It is a wee bit more complicated than that.

 

https://www.law360.com/articles/67454/immersion-to-pay-microsoft-20m-to-settle-tech-suit

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wont these patents run out at some point? honestly, since having a sidewinder, i cant imagine flying without ffb anymore, even if there are tempting stick(s) on the horizon....even if the sidewinder is not as precise as other non ffb sticks, the feeling if it is unbeatable imo. here is still hoping that one day a new quality ffb stick will be released.

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wont these patents run out at some point?

 

According to Wikipedia...

 

For applications filed before June 8, 1995 and for patents that were still in force on June 8, 1995, the patent term is either 17 years from the issue date or 20 years from the filing date of the earliest U.S. or international (PCT) application...

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FFB did not lose popularity - the tech is widely used in simracing wheels. It lost popularity in flight sims, because IL2. Apparently you could not be a proper Soviet Sniper Ace with FFB. Back in 2007 I saw a joystick buying guide stating to keep away from FFB sticks, cause you won't be accurate in IL2.

 

Well, that was even way before IL2...

 

When Microsoft released its first FF joystick, it was Red Baron II time... And you couldn't use the FF at all as it was so strong to throw your aircraft around when firing the pesky machineguns...

 

It was all the way great to fly, drop bombs but when it came to firing MG.... Just disable that thing.

 

I have G940 (nothing what so ever wrong with it... *knock knock*) and I have very mixed feelings for it when flying fighters. For helicopters... I wouldn't change it to any other stick.... Not a change! Like no way I am going to fly any helicopter without FF joystick anymore!

 

But for fighters... It is similar thing. It is great as you can feel the airflow and you can feel the stalling before even warnings hits or it happens. So you can very well react to things. You notice all the side slips and drag differentials with it before you notice them visually.

 

But when it comes again specific effects, it is just hateful. Like now flying Mig-21Bis is total BS because that aircraft doesn't want to stay straight, continually rolling from one side to another at any given speed if having other than fully clean airframe. So you are continually fighting against the stick as it is doing all the force feedback for you, so it is required to pull the AC cable out when flying it so it is easier to correct the small rollings and try to fly straight.

 

But really, only a VR goggles comes to same level as flying with FF stick. THe feeling when you go vertical and you start losing speed and stick gets FF when you can't just pull it any direction as you have stalled... it is just something. Same thing is when you are pulling G and the stick gets stiff and you can read the G forces by feeling, without looking any instruments.

 

FF stick + VR goggles + 5.1 headset.... You can't ask more for low prices.

 

The best thing with fighters really is with Su-27S. As you feel the centering trimmer working. And it is so great that first you just level aircraft and then you press trimming and the stick moves to the trimmed position and gets soft when trimmed correctly. So when altering speeds etc, you can feel how the trimming changes and you just correct it by force feedback you get.

 

I think there would be far bigger market for FF sticks, but I think why it died was not about patents or anything like that, but because it feels that for decade there was a total death in flight simulation markets. It didn't come as big market as Falcon 4.0 release showed.... When the Lock-On came out it was like "it might get refreshed" but it didn't.

 

You noticed how the sticks vanished and wheels and other controllers came out. It was the Playstation time then. Then came XBox and it was like PC gaming was FPS and then was consoles.

Now we have more HOTAS builders, not thanks to DCS or X-Plane or anything like that, but thanks to Elite Dangerous and such space sims. Thanks to VR and so on.

And now we can say that DCS has been big name for ones like VSK to make the metal joysticks and so on.

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