Mad Catz confirms PS3 3.50 disables some of its controllers - so much for being officially licensed

We all saw Sony's warnings about the possibility of "igniting" or "exploding" unlicensed third-party PS3 controllers, but apparently the publisher isn't even happy with one of its biggest official third-party supporters. The PS3 3.50 firmware update has disabled several third-party accessories including some from the biggest name in peripherals, Mad Catz, which leads us to bigger questions about what exactly Sony hid behind the scenes in its latest update.

Yet again, it looks like Sony sneaked in some changes to the PS3 in the latest firmware update that it didn't tell anyone about. Specifically, third-party USB peripherals are being cut off at the knees, completely disabling devices that worked perfectly before last week.

Above: Sony's official notification about what's included in firmware update 3.50 says nothing about modifications to the system's acceptance of peripherals

1UP noted a handful of unauthorized accessories stopped functioning on PS3 systems with firmware 3.50. Things like a PS2-to-PS3 controller adapter called the JoyBox, and a mouse controller from SplitFish, the FragFX, have become completely worthless. It also found a couple other controller adapters that went kaput, but 1UP reported "no third-party controllers that are officially licensed by Sony have been found to be affected."

Well, that sounds sort of justifiable, if completely draconian. However, the story changes. Mad Catz, one of the biggest official third-party supporters Sony has ever had, has come forward saying some of its products were affected too.

Above: Mad Catz isn't some fly-by-night outfit skipping out on PS3 licensing fees. It's a legit, big time peripheral manufacturer that pays Sony for the assurance that its products will work without issue. Supposedly.

"Over the last 24 hours, various media outlets have reported on issues gamers are experiencing after downloading and installing the new ‘3.50’ Firmware for their PlayStation 3 video game systems," said the peripheral maker in a statement. Mad Catz then went on to say "a small quantity of controllers sold before 2008" no longer function with PS3s after they are updated to version 3.50.

Okay, seriously, it's one thing to disable unauthorized devices from the system. But when people who paid money for a legitimate, licensed PS3 product that was sold at reputable retailers are forced to go out and buy a new controller, that's a problem. Mad Catz sells hundreds of thousands of controllers every year so there are bound to be a large number of customers affected who got their PS3 in its first year. Imagine turning on your PS3, it prompts you for an update that says absolutely nothing about disabling controller functionality, and after it installs your controller no longer works.

Above: Controllers like this, though given a full stamp of approval from Sony at the time they were made, no longer work on the PS3

Admittedly, there is a slight chance that this is accidental - something to do with the addition of Move support perhaps? And the tweak only seems to affect one legitimate company with a relatively small and "dated" (if you think two years is old for a controller) part of its product portfolio. But even then, is that acceptable? Sony has been very aggressive with trying to stop unauthorized activity on its consoles; it has remotely deactivated jailbreaking, and it took away the ability to install a third-party operating system, a move that has landed it into a class-action lawsuit. But now it may even be stomping over legitimate business partners. Where will it end?

Unfortunately, more specific details of which controllers were affected haven't yet been released. So you tell us. Have you had any problems with your third-party peripherals working after updating to firmware 3.50?

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  • Wolfie2011 - March 13, 2011 12:35 p.m.

    Has this ever been fixed? My controller still not linking. If so what is fix? If not where do I stand legally as I bought a licensed controller & now it is worthless
  • jay92323 - September 28, 2010 5:39 a.m.

    Hey everyone...just wanted to jump and give my two cents. I just updated to version 3.50. I have 2 regular six axis controllers and one dualshock 3 (all officially licensed). My regular six axis controllers still work fine, but my dualshock 3 has been disabled. Here is the kicker, the dualshock 3 is the one that came in box with my ps3 slim!!! How can that not be officially licensed by sony? I'm really mad because I prefer using my dualshock 3 and its not like these are cheap to replace. I feel Sony really screwed me here.
  • Howetzer - September 27, 2010 6:48 p.m.

    Raby = Sony hater. There I said it. Someone show me evidence otherwise before I'd change my mind on that, this article just lets me know not to read anything about sony from this guy because he isn't even going to report on it like someone should. It's like so much other biased liberal media out there.
  • SHAPATTAK - September 27, 2010 5:46 p.m.

    Well I guess that explains why my other controller isn't working. I hope they fix this since I like the MadCatz controller a lot more than the Sony one.
  • Camoxide - September 27, 2010 8:04 a.m.

    The update stopped my white DS3 from working wirelessly...
  • CoryRX8 - September 26, 2010 11 p.m.

    Cue Mad Catz sending out the lawyers in 3... 2... 1... For that matter, I hope that Mad Catz sues them, and I hope they get a big chunk of cash for it. That would teach Sony to be a little more careful about their firmware updates. Or test them at all before releasing them, for that matter.
  • ultimatepunchrod - September 26, 2010 6:54 p.m.

    has anyone who commented here actually had problems with this. read the article. only SOME mad catz controllers are affected. take a deep breath because if they are officially licensed by sony then they will fix the problem.
  • CAPST3R - September 26, 2010 4:55 p.m.

    Not that I've got anything against it, but why do people buy unofficial controllers? The official ones are (from my experience) much better quality, and are more reliable. And as far as I know, the official PS2 and PS3 pads are the only ones with pressure-sensitive face and shoulder buttons (excluding L2+R2). It's an overlooked feature, but I think it's pretty good.
  • pradius - September 26, 2010 1:21 p.m.

    @michaelkaramas Nah, 360's controller is way better. Better buttons. Better triggers. WAY better analog sticks. It feels better. And the build is way more quality. The only thing sony's controller has going for it is the d-pad. Plus ps3's just controller feels really cheap. You can be a fanboy, but don't be absurd. The ps3 controller is junk and everyone knows it. Hell I like the Wii Classic Controller better than ps3's.
  • slickninja - September 26, 2010 12:34 p.m.

    Those controllers suck anyway. If you can afford a PS3, you can afford the real controller. Those Mad Catz controllers feel like those cheap-ass clear plastic water guns. Stop being a cheap ass and get the legit Dualshock, mine is white.
  • thedonut - September 26, 2010 9:35 a.m.

    On the further note, Sony needs to really test these updates before releasing them. The updates are always something messing up
  • thedonut - September 26, 2010 3:58 a.m.

    I don't use 3rd party controllers anymore anyways. There's always something wrong with them.
  • flare149 - September 25, 2010 7:45 p.m.

    Hasn't anyone considered that MAYBE MadCatz just decided to go ahead an not get authorization for some of their controllers seeing as how they're known as an official company and would save some money that way? Plus if they still got some officially licensed, then said that it was the same thing with a different cover to Sony they could just make it seem like they're all official. Idk, just as well I don't care because I love the regular PS3 controller and Sony makes quality products so that's what I buy. However, I do REALLY hope that the upcoming Tron controller works because it looks awesome and I already have it pre-ordered : )
  • EnragedTortoise1 - September 25, 2010 7:34 p.m.

    Sorry, but Mad Catz's controllers suck.
  • Heyexclamationpoint - September 25, 2010 6:04 p.m.

    Seems more like a accident on Sony's part rather than a calculated move to screw over Mad Catz.
  • Collymilad - September 25, 2010 5:39 p.m.

    I dont use a 3rd party controller but this is a dick move. Also the only genre the PS3 controller is better than the 360 controller for is fighting games. Nothing else.
  • d3v - September 25, 2010 5 p.m.

    Technically, the MadCatz controllers that don't work aren't licensed either. The initial open nature of the PS3 meant that MadCatz didn't need to license their PS3 controllers and didn't do so until this year. It's hard to believe, but even the expensive Tournament Edition FightSticks that cost $150 a pop aren't weren't licensed until recently (only the recently released Chun Li design for PAX is official) luckily, they still work though).
  • PipBowl420 - September 25, 2010 4:35 p.m.

    okay... seriously dude... how much is sony gunna do that's just a complete jack-ass move.. I'm so glad that I didn't buy any of them controllers.. For me to buy something, and then for the company to purposely disable the product that I bought from them. Give them MY money, that I WORK (hard) for, MY money for their product, just for them to prevent me from using it, against my will. To have me update my system, causing it to disable my property without me knowing. A whole two years, or 15 years old.. WHAT THE #*$%!!! It is MINE! Not any one else to change. I really can't see me enjoying such "happening"s when I buy the PS4 when it comes out, because I won't be buying a product that the developers control, and sometimes even secretly control, against my will. Therefore, sooner or later, the product won't be what I bought, it will be literally something "else". In the case of PS3 and 360, due to such actions upon sony, I'd much rather buy a 360 for hell of a lot cheaper, and pay the 60$ a month, and have the comfort that nothing will be taken away, or changed against my will. At least I might know what I'm dealing with. Hell... no one I know owns a PS3 anyways, everyone's got a 360.. Therefor... VERY VERY VERY STUUUUUUPID MOVE sony!!
  • Vulneratus - September 25, 2010 4:24 p.m.

    Whoooaaahhhh!! Back up, you mean a software patch was released that had unforeseen ramifications!!??? God help us all!!! When has that ever happened?? It must surely be the work of the devil incarnate... This just in: Sony has not just released a patchy software update, it would seem they also ran over Mark Raby's dog... Well, that might explain a few things.
  • nebno6 - September 25, 2010 12:12 p.m.

    even if they patched it so you could use the controllers, you wouldnt be able to update without a working controller

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