Logitech this week announced that it has taken over the Saitek brand as well as the family of flight and space simulation game controllers from Mad Catz for $13 million in cash. The acquisition expands Logitech’s portfolio of game-specific controllers and could eventually help the company to address the emerging VR gaming market with custom products.

Saitek was founded in 1979 as a maker of electronic chess games, but diversified into PC peripherals in the 1990s, focusing on custom controllers for driving and flight simulation games. Over time, the company released its own keyboards, mice and even audio products for PCs, but kept its key specialization, which are game-specific controllers for various simulation titles. Mad Catz bought Saitek in 2007 for $30 million and greatly expanded Saitek’s families of R.A.T. mice and S.T.R.I.K.E. keyboards for gamers. Mad Catz continued to develop game-specific peripherals for flight simulators under Saitek brand. In the recent years, it added a special controller for Farm Simulator into its lineup and even inked an agreement with Cloud Imperium Games to build licensed controllers for Star Citizen. Fast forward to today, Logitech acquired only the Saitek brand as well as assets related to Saitek’s line of flight, farm and space simulation controllers, leaving mice and keyboard assets to Mad Catz.

There is a great rationale behind Logitech’s decision to buy only a part of Saitek. Logitech already has gaming wheels products for driving simulation market in its Logitech G product lineup. The addition of Saitek’s Pro Flight controllers (joysticks, pedals, panels, etc.) opens up a new market for the company and does not create any internal competition (unlike mice and keyboards used to be sold under the Saitek brand). While this market is relatively small, customers here tend to be very loyal (partly because they do not seem to have a wide choice of peripherals) and loyal customers are not easy to find.

Logitech says that it has a vision how to evolve Saitek’s product line and while it does not reveal any details, it hints that dedicated game controllers for VR could be a way to go. At present, we only have to wonder what we are going to see from Saitek and Logitech in future, but the transaction in general gives Logitech something to start with when it comes to VR peripherals.

Source: Logitech

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  • ToTTenTranz - Friday, September 16, 2016 - link

    Although flight/space sims seem to have been a dying breed for years, I think Logitech did the purchase in anticipation of VR, which could bring the genres back to the spotlight. Reply
  • BloodyBunnySlippers - Friday, September 16, 2016 - link

    My hope is that there will be a resurgence of Space/Flight sims with VR. With that, I may finally upgrade my Saitek X-45. And from what I understand QC at Saitek/Mad Catz was a complaint for a lot of people. My hope is that Logitech can reign that in and provide a middle ground choice between the $50 and $500 controllers. Reply
  • LordanSS - Friday, September 16, 2016 - link

    Good friend of mine has a X-52, which he bought to play Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen. After upgrading to Win10, driver problems started to arise.

    Saitek worked to get things sorted out, thankfully. Can't say the same would happen from Logitech, as their support has become quite lacking.

    I have a Thrustmaster Warthog, massive beast but massive fun. Wasn't cheap but it's quite the controller.
    Reply
  • Flunk - Sunday, September 25, 2016 - link

    That's sad, I'm playing Star Citizen with a Microsoft Sidewinder Force Feedback 2 that's been sitting in my closet for years. It works great in Windows 10, there is no excuse for such a new joystick to have issues. Reply
  • Michael Bay - Saturday, September 17, 2016 - link

    If anything, those are resurgent now, at least the space variety. Sadly, we have literally TWO companies making airsims. God knows why this subgenre survived only in Russia. Reply
  • WinterCharm - Sunday, September 18, 2016 - link

    As an Elite Dangerous player, I'm happy to see this happen, because it's one of the best VR games out there right now, and there's nothing quite like it. But there are not many great HOTAS on the market. Reply
  • Morawka - Friday, September 16, 2016 - link

    wow for 13 million.. thats cheap.... that should tell you guys something about how well saitek was doing.. Reply
  • szimm - Saturday, September 17, 2016 - link

    Not necessarily - as stated in the article, Logitech only aquired part of Saitek's lineup. And it was also the most niche part, at that. So considering the original purchase price of 30 million dollars, the 13 paid for just the simulation controller lineup, doesn't seem too bad at all. I would guess Saitek has had a decent business so far, but not one that is currently growing. Reply
  • Diogenes5 - Saturday, September 17, 2016 - link

    I don't think so. Nobody in the enthusiast community takes mad catz mice or keyboards seriously. Logitech was smart to only buy the relevant parts. Reply
  • BurntMyBacon - Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - link

    @Morawka: "wow for 13 million.. thats cheap.... that should tell you guys something about how well saitek was doing."

    Well, they only bought the smaller part of Saitek's overall product portfolio and the brand. I suspect that they would have left the brand on the table and spent less money if they were doing that poorly.
    Reply

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