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Why is Red Octane giving PS3 a wireless dongle?

All of us PS3 owners know that our sexy console sports Bluetooth technology -- real awesome stuff, being able to attempt to play Warhawk while cooking in the kitchen and the TV is upstairs in a bedroom. Anyway, Red Octane doesn't seem to think Bluetooth is all it's cracked up to be. It's been revealed that the PS3 version of Guitar Hero 3 will force PS3 owners to attach a wireless USB dongle to their consoles instead of using the Bluetooth technology. Well, that might not be true. Red Octane is blaming Sony for this USB device. Let's investigate!

1UP contacted Red Octane for comment and they replied: "Our products require considerable time for certification and testing to perfect both our software & hardware, so this was the most effective way for us to bring a high quality wireless solution for PS3 this holiday." Since that didn't adequately answer why, they pried further, since the Wii uses Bluetooth but won't require such a crazy USB device. Apparently the Bluetooth technology only works with the Sixaxis and Sony doesn't have the technology set up to allow third-parties to use it. That's a little strange sounding.

Sony gave vague answers, using the word consider many, many times: "Many factors were in play regarding the decision to go USB wireless vs Bluetooth for GH3. However, we are considering Bluetooth for future consideration." Everything else is classified! This is a minor issue, but speculation seems to surround the PS3's strange de-sync with the Sixaxis. Surely that would be a horrifying situation while strumming your axe, so perhaps Red Octane decided not to risk that problem on the PS3. Who knows. Does anyone really care? Wireless is wireless, right?

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Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. Those "dongles" look dumb. But really, who cares. If thats what it takes to play GH3 wireless, its worth it. I doubt theres going to be a ton of fury over dongles.

Posted at 5:22PM on Oct 11th 2007 by adam

2. I dont know bout da rest of u but i am spoiled with wireless items because it takes up less room n i HATE wires. But now since gh3 isnt technically wireless, i might not buy it now.

Posted at 5:28PM on Oct 11th 2007 by pr0fecy

3. Hmmmm...

This makes sense I guess. I don't think Sony would go out of their way to release a firmware update so this is playable.

This isn't a big deal considering most people look at their tv when playing games not their console.

Posted at 5:33PM on Oct 11th 2007 by Andy

4. I care. It means if you want to switch between rock band and GH, you have to unplug stuff. It takes up two USB slots when it doesn't need to, plain and simple. Not to mention you'll have to keep those things around and not lose them, not forget them when you go to a friend's house, etc.

Dongle-less bluetooth wireless is sexy as hell... dongles are so 90's.

There's no way it'll get fixed now, obviously, since it's so close to launch, but if it is a problem with Sony's controller interaction, I hope they fix it so other third parties don't have the same problem.

Posted at 5:40PM on Oct 11th 2007 by Nate

5. the ps3 doesn't only support sixaxis over Bluetooth. You can use almost any (including third party) Bluetooth headsets, as well as bluetooth keyboards and mouses. All they had to do was make the ps3 think it was connecting to a regular sixaxis, instead of something special like a guitar controller and it probably would have worked fine.

Posted at 5:41PM on Oct 11th 2007 by Andy

6. Since the Wii version uses the Wii-mote to communicate to the base console, I'm guessing it just means that they didn't put in enough effort to make the guitars truly unique for each console.

Posted at 5:57PM on Oct 11th 2007 by ruibing

7. Did you ever buy one of those 3rd party wireless guitars back on PS2? Well Guitar Hero 2 managed to wedge those guys out and break compatibility with them.
I'm convinced Red Octane is using the dongles to ensure that no one else can sell cheaper guitars using a standard protocol like ps3 controller's blue tooth. The dongles allow them to own the communication protocol and therefore squash 3rd party competition on a hardware level.

Posted at 5:59PM on Oct 11th 2007 by krunkster

8. No Wireless is Wireless & A Dongle Is a Dongle.
Those Dongles are Quite Large!

Posted at 6:13PM on Oct 11th 2007 by TRUTH

9. "...the Bluetooth technology only works with the Sixaxis.."

um how come my 3rd party bluetooth headset works perfectly with my ps3?

Posted at 6:41PM on Oct 11th 2007 by komrad

10. Logitech's PS3 controller and The FragFX work without a dongle, don't they?

Posted at 6:55PM on Oct 11th 2007 by Allen

11. Hmmm this is VERY VERY troublesome!!! With the release of Rock Band to PS3, there is going to be a VERY serious problem!!! Rock Band is going to require atleast 4 USB ports, if this is true! So... With the release of the low budget PS3 40 gb with only TWO usb ports, this game won't be playable on that console ????

Posted at 8:42PM on Oct 11th 2007 by rd2000

12. so...does this only affect the guitars of Rockband? or the whole set? coz if the 40gb ps3 comes out in the US where it only has 2 USB connections, how would u use the rest of the set?

Posted at 8:45PM on Oct 11th 2007 by Marc

13. Not that much of a bother, might make GH3 a bit more expensive, but its not that bad. Also, Sony should really allow 3rd parties to utilize the dam bluetooth.

Posted at 8:56PM on Oct 11th 2007 by Tim

14. The truth of th ematter is that they didn't want to make a bluetooth guitar. They just used the same guitar innards for each console. Since you can't plug peripherals into the Sixaxis the guitar won't work without a dongle. They are just taking the cheap way out.

The PS3 supports plenty of third party bluetooth products that weren't even designed for the PS3.

Posted at 9:14PM on Oct 11th 2007 by Iridium

15. I don't care. The point is that it works, and in this timeline, they totally did the right thing. And if for the next one they can get Bluetooth up to spec, they'll use it then. It's not even an issue. So you have some dongles. You still have wireless.

Posted at 9:21PM on Oct 11th 2007 by John

16. i dont know about you guys, but they look awesome anyway, at least they arent ugly as hell and stick with the guitar theme (giant picks) i bet some people will buy an extra dongle and actually strum with it on guitar hero xD

Posted at 9:38PM on Oct 11th 2007 by animekid3515

17. Who cares if the 40GB only has 2 USB ports? Haven't you guys ever heard of a USB hub? Of course you'll be able to play Rockband on the 40gb model. A cheaper console means you have to buy more add-ons for extra features, Xbox 360 does the same thing. No surprise there.

Posted at 9:46PM on Oct 11th 2007 by LW

18. Umm... Bluetooth is just another extraneous trademark that makes you think you get some sort of value out of a PS3. It's almost deceptive how they are jerking you around, but it's not deceptive because you LET them jerk you around.

What if it were called IEEE 802.15? You know, what the people who DON'T get manipulated by glitzy marketing call it? Sure it's a great technology in the right applications, but most of you have no f-ing clue what makes it great beyond some conceptions that the name and logo painted for you.

Posted at 1:27AM on Oct 12th 2007 by Edge

19. @18: You lose, but thanks for playing. Like an earlier poster said, you can pair a ton of Bluetooth devices to the PS3 that aren't even designed for it, including headsets, keyboards, and mice. From a software standpoint, you could have a guitar controller or even a keyboard synthesizer controller use Bluetooth and code the game to recognize hitting the letter Z on a keyboard as a certain note getting played.

This is just a lock-in for Red Octane so you're forced to buy their peripherals, plain and simple. That's why Sony is silent on this issue.

Posted at 8:41AM on Oct 12th 2007 by Popfrogs

20. "...so this was the most effective way for us to bring a high quality wireless solution for PS3 this holiday..."

there's your answer there, they could have done bluetooth but couldn't get it out the door in time to cash in on the holidays if they did.

Posted at 11:39AM on Oct 12th 2007 by robert

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