A look at what's happening with the UK's leading flight sim manufacturer

Brand Profile: Thrustmaster

Helen French chats to Dan Elbro, UK sales manager for Thrustmaster, about what’s happening for the brand at the moment.

Thrustmaster burst onto the PC accessories scene by making flight controllers based on the controls of real aircraft, and it still strives to give gamers as real an experience as possible today. PCR spoke to Dan Elbro to find out more.

Can you give us a brief history of the brand?

Thrustmaster has been making gaming accessories since 1992. Our values ‘passion, quality and innovation,’ sum up our strengths, which enable gamers to dominate their playing fields and enhance their experience.

What products are Thrustmaster’s biggest sellers at the moment?

Our Ferrari GT Experience racing wheel continues to lead the way for both PC and PS3 racing fans – it offers wheel mounted paddle shifters, a great pedal set, rumble force on PC and 11 active buttons including the PS3 home button.

On PC, you’re perhaps best known for your steering wheels and flight sim products – what can you tell us about the other items that you do?

Yes, we are leaders in the PC flight sim and racing wheel markets, but we also offer a wide range of products from gamepads, charging stations, to unique and specific products for Wii and DS including Disney licensed ranges for each of these platforms.

Why should retailers and distributors choose Thrustmaster over other brands?

In a highly competitive market, Thrustmaster can offer a complete range and cater for a wide audience. Retailers can be sure they have something for everyone.

Also with our key licenses such as Ferrari, Sony, Xbox 360 and Disney, we guarantee to offer value-add and ensure retailers have something different to show their customers.

Following on from that, as you mention Thrustmaster has partnered with a number of big-name licences from Ferrari to Tom Clancy – what benefits do you think they bring to the brand?

Licences are giving us the possibility to take users even deeper when playing games. When you deal with replica wheels for the Ferrari licence or with Disney properties, it’s much more involved than simply putting a logo on a product – it’s about a spirit in creativity, it’s the use of specific materials and it’s about keeping with the licence’s philosophy.

How do you keep innovating in this sector? How much more can you bring to joypads, joysticks, steering wheels and so on?

We continue to invest heavily in R&D and this means we can continue to produce high end products with a unique design such as the Hotas Warthog and T500 RS – our official Sony and GT5 licensed racing wheel.

How do you plan to grow the business growing forward? Is anything exciting coming up for you?

Yes indeed, we have just released our Ferrari F1 add-on for T500 RS owners and a bundle version for those that don’t already have the T500. It’s a full- size replica of this season’s Ferrari F1 wheel. The demand has been very high on both products. We have also just released the TH8 RS – a high-end shifter to extend the racing experience, and the Ferrari 458 Italia, which is the first racing wheel that’s both Ferrari and Xbox 360 licensed.

2012 will bring its share of exciting news too.

How should retailers and other interested partners get in touch?

Please contact me directly on 07802 288217 or by email at dan.elbro@guillemot.co.uk.

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