2022 has been a big year for sim racing and racing video game hardware manufacturers. By any stretch of the imagination, drivers have never had more choice or greater realism.
Within this sub-genre we call home, one company is seen as the leader – Endor AG, with its Fanatec division.
Last year, it launched the smaller, more affordable, CSL DD wheel base, and backed that up in December with the launch of the Gran Turismo DD Pro – bringing direct drive to Sony’s popular console ahead of Gran Turismo 7’s launch nine months ago.
The past 365 days have seen the German company’s revenue soar, the biggest in its 25-year history.
But there was also a lack of supply. Demand wasn’t the challenge, finding the chips to supply the need was.
“Yes, it’s frustrating,” said Fanatec and Endor AG CEO Thomas Jackermeier to Traxion.GG.
“On the other side, we can’t complain. We never made more turnover than we did this year, despite having no products.”
As the calendar flips over to 2023, the innovative CSL DD has been flagged as out of stock until sometime in Q1, the Bentley GT3 steering wheel and Podium Button Module Rally have also slipped into next year and while a GT DD Pro bundle was briefly in stock during November, it’s not anymore.
“Finally, I see the light,” explained Jackermeier.
“[In 2023] at least we can supply. Production will start again, pretty soon and from Q2 on I think we are totally safe and back on track.
“We have tons of chips now ordered and already in stock.”
This wasn’t the case of late, and in order to satisfy the legions of hungry sim racers desperate to jump into direct drive for the first time, the company has had to commit to some drastic measures, trying to mitigate the ongoing chip shortages.
“We had to slow down our research and development,” explained Jackermeier.
“We had to develop replacement electronics for the existing products, which was a pain.
“We spent all our R&D [doing that], and it was not just us. I heard that same story from everybody.
“Next year, we can finally bring out new and cool products again.”
With a new quick release system and Formula 1 licenced cockpit also on the way to sit alongside the aforementioned Bentley and rally products, we’re now looking forward to an ‘unhinged’ Fanatec, released from the shackles of the COVID-19 pandemic and supply constraints.
“A lot of investors thought that after the pandemic the whole gaming market is going down because there are no more lockdowns,” highlights Jackermeier.
“Sim racing is totally different. The pandemic was an extra kick, but we already had a growth rate of 40 per cent before that, so it just accelerated it and now it’s healthier than ever.”
You can listen to our full Fanatec interview on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.