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

Sony's new strategy: scare everyone away from its platforms

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We all saw Sony's warnings about the possibility of"igniting" or "exploding"unlicensed third-partyPS3 controllers, but apparentlythe publisherisn't even happy with one of its biggest official third-party supporters. The PS3 3.50 firmware update has disabled several third-party accessories includingsome from the biggest name in peripherals, Mad Catz,which leads usto 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

1UPnoted 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-nightoutfit skipping out on PS3 licensing fees. It's alegit,big time peripheral manufacturer thatpays 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 %26lsquo;3.50%26rsquo; 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 arelatively small and"dated"(if you think two yearsis 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?

Sep 24, 2010


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