While Thrustmaster’s latest wheel base, the T818, will remain only for PC, the company is working on a new direct drive wheel base system for consoles, says Xavier Pieuchot.
Now that Thrustmaster has entered the realms of direct drive technology with its T818, jettisoning its belt-driven roots, it would have been perhaps safe to assume it would work on console too.
But it doesn’t.
The T818 wheel base is resolutely, steadfastly, PC only.
It’s brilliant, too, with 10Nm of constant (not peak) torque and visceral feedback that makes each kerb strike feel like five rounds with Conor McGregor.
“Why would you want direct drive on a console, to play Tetris?”
That is a genuine comment on our T818 video review. Not joking.
Take one look at Fanatec’s (Endor AG) publicly available revenue figures for the past 12 months after the launch of its console-compatible direct drive devices, however, and such pithy comments are mostly unwarranted.
There are legions of console players who want to enjoy the likes of Gran Turismo 7, Assetto Corsa Competizione, F1 22, WRC Generations and the upcoming Forza Motorsport with the best feedback possible, and the sales figures – plus Logitech’s recent market entry – speak volumes.
Which begs the question, where is Thrustmaster?
“Thrustmaster is making sim racing hardware on consoles for years,” explained Xavier Pieuchot to Traxion.GG, Product Marketing Manager at Thrustmaster.
“We were one of the first to have a wheel base on consoles. Fun fact, when we launched the T500, if I’m correct, we were on console first and people were saying ‘why is that not on PC?’
“I want to highlight the fact that going on console comes with more rules.
“For the T818, it is our first drive wheel base and we didn’t want to have any restrictions.”
The new device was three years in development, uses a proprietary motor design and will also be produced in France – a significant undertaking for Thrustmaster. It also happens to be backwards compatible with existing wheels and forward compatible with an all-new quick release system.
Now this first direct drive project has been released, the first two batches of European pre-orders produced and the first North American supply being shipped across the Atlantic, it will turn its attention to consoles.
“It’s not like [we said] ‘okay, let’s do on PC only’ and that’s it,” said Pieuchot.
“We know that a big part of the Thrustmaster community is on consoles.
“We will have something on consoles as well, that’s for sure.”
When asked specifically if this upcoming console-compatible wheel base will be direct drive, Pieuchot answered:
“Yes, that’s correct.”
It will also be working on building out its steering wheel ecosystem, too, with at least one new range addition due in 2023.
“We will have a new wheel in 2023,” highlighted Pieuchot.
“This is one of the next exciting additions. It will have the new quickly system already installed but included with every new wheel, you will have the adapter for reverse compatibility.”
A full interview with Thrustmaster’s Xavier Pieuchot about will be the next Traxion Podcast episode, released next week.