Mad Catz on Lack of PS3-to-PS4 Wheel Support: ‘An Authenticating Security Chip is Required’
When the wheel compatibility for DriveClub on PlayStation 4 was announced in September, it only included the Thrustmaster T80, Thrustmaster T300RS, and Thrustmaster T500, with the latter not supporting PS4 Share functionality. Asked about other wheels like Logitech, Evolution’s response at the time was, “We can’t support other wheels unless they’re compatible with PS4.”
To learn about which wheels might eventually work on PS4, Eurogamer reached out to Logitech, Mad Catz, and Fanatec. While Logitech (who isn’t in the console peripheral business anymore) didn’t respond to any of their requests, Mad Cats and Fanatec did, with Mad Catz Senior Product Development Manager Richard Neville commenting on how racing wheels need a security chip to work on PS4:
A PS4 racing wheel is required to include an authenticating security chip which handshakes with the console for verification, as such our older PS3 wheels will not function on PS4.
This statement mirrors a now-deleted tweet from Logitech in August 2014, stating the G27 wouldn’t work on PS4 as it required a security chip for full functionality.
There does appear to be ways around the lack of a security chip on other PS4 peripherals though, with Skullgirls Encore for PS4 supporting PS3 fights sticks through the use of a custom USB driver. As Neville explained, this isn’t something they can transfer over to racing wheels:
We’re delighted that Skullgirls will allow PS4 owners to use their PlayStation 3 Mad Catz FightSticks, we think that’s a huge win for the fighting game community and offers real value to the gamer.
Some control devices on PS4 (such as racing wheels), will simply not operate on PS4 without the inclusion of a security chip and to our knowledge a workaround via a software update or driver will not prove sufficient.
Based on what Eurogamer’s heard so far, they summed up the process of getting a wheel working properly on PS4: “A steering wheel manufacturer develops a driver that is sent to the developer of the racing game in question. The developer then adds support for it in the game.” The thing is, a PS4 software development kit is required to create a driver, and Sony is the one who sends them out.
While Sony and Thrustmaster wouldn’t tell Eurogamer if they worked together to make only those wheels compatible off the bat, Fanatec CEO Thomas Jackermeier did respond, saying, “I don’t know the real reason and they don’t tell me the real reason.”
None of this is stopping Fanatec from talking with Sony about working on PS4 wheels and creating a driver to allow their PS3 wheels to work on PS4, but as Jackermeier said, “The ball is in Sony’s court. We would be more than happy to make an officially-licensed wheel and make everything compatible. That’s our target.”
“Some gamers think it’s up to us, the wheel makers, to just make it compatible, but unfortunately it’s not that easy,” he added. “I would love to make our wheels compatible and sell more. But it’s just not possible.”
As for Mad Catz’s Neville, he said, “We are of course fans of PlayStation and keen to develop for a wide range of formats. As a public company however, we cannot talk about any product not yet disclosed and at this time we have not announced a racing wheel for PS4.”