Last updated
IndustryComputer & game console peripherals
Founded1990;31 years ago (1990), Hillsboro, Oregon, United States
Headquarters Carentoir, France
ProductsSteering wheel, joysticks, gamepads
Parent Guillemot Corporation
Website OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

Thrustmaster is an American designer, developer and manufacturer of joysticks, game controllers, and steering wheels for PCs and video gaming consoles alike. It has licensing agreements with third party brands as Airbus, Ferrari, Gran Turismo and the U.S. Air Force as well as licensing some products under Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox license.



A Thrustmaster T.16000M joystick (2009) Thrustmaster T16000M 7937.jpg
A Thrustmaster T.16000M joystick (2009)

Norm Winningstad helped found Thrustmaster in 1990 in Hillsboro, Oregon. [1] By early 1991 the company began advertising the Thrustmaster Weapons Control System in computer magazines. It worked mainly on developing flight control for simulation on IBM Compatible Computers. The company has utilized the HOTAS system for use in computer flight simulation and has modeled some controllers after flight controls of real aircraft. The company made their name in making the expensive but high quality HOTAS controllers in middle 1990s. By 1995, its sales grew to $15 million, and then to $25 million by 1998. [2]

In July 1999, the gaming peripherals operations and brand name was acquired from Thrustmaster for $15 million by the Guillemot Corporation Group of France (which also bought Hercules Computer Technology that same year and merged the 2 companies in a company called Hercules Thrustmaster, with headquarters in Carentoir, France, while keeping the 2 brands separate). [2]

The new Thrustmaster company gradually extended the product portfolio beyond flight simulation to other simulation peripherals for PC, PlayStation and Xbox consoles:

In 2019, Thrustmaster turnover is €59 millions (US$ 66 millions). [3]

HOTAS Cougar

Formerly one of their most expensive joysticks is the HOTAS Cougar, a close but not exact reproduction of both the throttle and stick that is used in the real F-16 block 52 fighter aircraft. [4] The product features all-metal construction and numerous programming possibilities but is hampered by low-quality potentiometers, leading to a thriving replacement industry. Some of the devices have had reported quality problems, including play in the centering springs and the tendency of the speedbrake switch to break due to a manufacturing defect (this has been fixed on later serial numbers).

Many independent companies[ who? ] have produced replacement components for the Cougar to address these issues. These include redesigned gimbals that center more firmly, contactless potentiometers to replace worn originals, and even several force-controlled mods that make the stick sense pressure without moving (similar to an F-16 stick). Besides fixing complaints with the original product, these aftermarket parts have the potential to extend the life of the Cougar well past the time when Thrustmaster stops supporting it, but usually at double, even triple the price of the original purchase. However, the market for such mods tends to be limited, and many customers keep their Cougars as they came from the factory.

The HOTAS Cougar was replaced by the HOTAS Warthog in 2010, which replicates the flight controls used in the A-10 Thunderbolt II, using Hall effect sensors for the joystick and throttle axes instead of potentiometers.

Ferrari partnership

In 1999, [5] Thrustmaster made their first every replica wheel of the Ferrari 360 Modena. This is then followed in 2002 when a wheel inspired by 7 time World Champion Michael Schumacher's. After 3 years, Thrustmaster comes out with the Enzo racing wheel.

The next wheel to come out was in May of 2010 when the concept of the Ferrari Wireless GT Cockpit 430 Scuderia Edition racing wheel comes out. In July of that same year the Cockpit is named "Product of the Month" and crowned "#1 Racing Wheel" for July/August by Spanish magazine Playmania.

Then in August of 2011, the 458 Italia wheel is released making the first time a wheel was licensed by Microsoft. After that at the 2011 Italian Grand Prix in Monza, Italy, they unveil new products under the Ferrari License. The two products were the Ferrari F1 Wheel Integral T500 and the Ferrari F1 Wheel Add-on. Later in 2011 with Ferrari make two Thrustmaster Gamepads under the colors of the Ferrari 150th Italia. They were the F1 Wireless Gamepad Ferrari 150th Italia Alonso Edition and the F1 Dual Analog Gamepad Ferrari 150th Italia Exclusive Edition.

Then in 2013 the TX Racing Wheel 458 Italia Edition with Brushless motors and magnetic sensors.

2014 saw the release of the most affordable wheel to ever have an official Microsoft License at just under 100 USD, the Ferrari 458 Spider Racing Wheel. 2015 had had the release if the T150 Ferrari Wheel Force Feedback.

2018 saw the last Ferrari product with Thrustmaster for now with a Bundle of the T.Racing Scuderia Ferrari Edition headset and the 599xx Evo wheel.

In 2021 Thrustmaster unveiled a sim racing replica of the Ferrari SF1000 wheel. This Wheel Is set to be Supported by: TS-XW, T-GT, T300, TX & TS-PC

Software support

Linux kernel support for various steering wheel models was added in March 2021. [6]

See also

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  1. "Norm Winningstad, high-tech pioneer and philanthropist in Oregon, dies at 85". The Oregonian . November 24, 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  2. 1 2 "Guillemot Corporation -- Company History". Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  3. "Guillemot Corporation -- Turnover 2019" (PDF). Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  4. "Falcon 4.0: Allied Force". CBS News.
  6. "Better Support For Thrustmaster Steering Wheels Is Driving To The Linux Kernel - Phoronix". Phoronix . Retrieved 2021-03-31.