Racing games have been around for a very long time on home consoles and they were always fun; but it wasn’t until the advent of the steering wheel peripheral that console racing games got serious! There is nothing like holding an actual wheel to add a sense of realism to anything from Gran Turismo to Mario Kart and for a long time Logitech was at the forefront of the console wheel game. Logitech wheels were so good that they were often used as part of the most expensive racing simulators in the world and Logitech was the “official wheel peripheral” for the Gran Turismo series for a long time. However, lately Logitech has faced fierce competition from rivals such as Fanatec and Thrustmaster (which is new official Gran Turismo wheel) and it looks like that competition has finally taken its toll.
In their third-quarter financial breifing Logitech announced that they suffered a net loss of $195 million dollars! This is really bad news considering that this same time last year they had a net profit of $55 million. In the release, CEO of Logitech Bracken P. Darrell made the following statement:
Our goal with PC-platform products is to maximize profitability, while investing selectively in growing categories. We have also identified a number of product categories that no longer fit with our current strategic direction. As a result, we have initiated the process to divest our remote controls and digital video security categories, and we plan to discontinue other non-strategic products, such as speaker docks and console gaming peripherals, by the end of Calendar Year 2013.
This pretty much means this is your last year to get any type of Logitech wheel for your console brand new from a store. Once 2013 is over we will have to turn to eBay to find a “G27” or “Driving Force” wheel for your PS3. For you Xbox fans, it is time to give up hope that Logitech will ever make a wheel for Microsoft’s console. On the bright side, it looks like PC racers are safe as the statement only mentions console peripherals. So, if you are an iRacing or rFactor fan you may be safe but given Logitech’s current financial situation I think its safe to say it will be at least a few years before they release a new PC-only wheel.
In the meantime if you have a PS3 and have yet to pick up a Logitech unit, you officially have until the end of 2013 to pick up a new one! The rest of us will pour one out for ’em…