Fanatec has delayed the release of its upcoming ClubSport DD+ racing wheel base due to licensing difficulty with Sony, the company has told customers awaiting the product. Originally expected to arrive with customers in December, the DD+ is now in a limbo until Fanatec can square it away with Sony.
“The ClubSport DD+ is the first product on the market incorporating Sony’s new security electronics,” an email sent to pre-order customers from Fanatec says. “Consequently, the product approval procedures are comprehensive and time-consuming. Initially we expected to receive this approval sooner. To date, we are still waiting for it, which is why we are currently unable to ship your order.”
“We hope to have an update on the matter by mid-January and are doing whatever we can to expedite the approval process and deliver this exciting new product to you as quickly as possible.”
I’ve reached out to Fanatec to ask for any further information it can share on the specific cause of the delay.
Speaking to one customer awaiting their order originally expected around December 27, I was pointed to a Fanatec forum thread from October in which Fanatec notes that this console licensing is still subject to Sony’s final product approval. It also notes in an update to that same thread that pre-orders had opened with the exception of Japan, specifically due to licensing reasons in the country.
Licensing can be tricky. It was only recently that Microsoft announced it would crack down on third-party wireless controllers, and I recommend anyone check out this article from Duncan Robertson over at GamesRadar regarding what the licensing process actually looks like in light of that decision. Note the specific part about dedicated and proprietary chipsets required for PlayStation and Xbox pads. Also the bit about the regular meetings with representatives.
(Image credit: Fanatec)
With that in mind, Fanatec has sold officially licensed Sony products in the past including the Gran Turismo DD Pro and Podium lines, which suggests it likely had a good idea of the licensing process going into production and the timeframes related to that. It is also working closely with Sony. From the aforementioned statement, it sounds like Sony’s new security electronics have thrown the company an unexpected curveball and one that even a company with some experience in the matter didn’t see coming. That happens sometimes, but judging from the reaction to the delay from those affected the messaging could and should have been clearer.
A tricky pill to swallow for customers is why they were given an expected ship date starting in December for a product pre-ordered in October which in January has a licensing issue for which there is no firm later shipping date. Those pre-orders sure do sound like they went live prematurely in my view, but I’ve asked Fanatec if this is normal practice and I’ll update if I hear anything back on this point.
There are two sizeable threads on the Fanatec subreddit (thread one, thread two) filled with complaints about the handling of the delay. A couple of users report they have cancelled orders but many more are wondering why it’s only clear now that this licensing issue persists.
(Image credit: Fanatec)
The DD+ wheel base has been developed to comply with the official licensing program requirements for PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 consoles. This is an issue with the more powerful 15Nm (Newton-metre, a unit of torque) ClubSport DD+ model only. The lower power 12Nm DD model does not offer PlayStation support.
In the end, what this all means is PC users are left waiting on a part that’s held up by Sony approval they don’t actually need, and PlayStation users are left to look elsewhere. When the ClubSport DD+ does arrive it should be an impressive unit. I’m a fan of the older CSL DD wheel base and this one appears better in pretty much every way. But I can see why some might be looking elsewhere for their next upgrade.
At least there’s the Logitech G Pro Racing Wheel that’s PlayStation compatible and rocking up to 11Nm? Silver linings…