When the Xbox One arrived last year, the lack of compatibility with existing peripherals annoyed more than a few people. Microsoft said that dumping backwards compatibility would allow for richer experiences, but it also meant that, at launch, racing fans had no way to use a decent wheel and pedal setup with games like Forza Motorsport 5. The game was excellent with a wheel, but no one knew that for a few months after launch, because there simply weren't any Xbox One-compatible wheels on the market.
At the close of 2014, things are looking better. Thrustmaster has not one but two wheels on the market for the Xbox One, and Mad Catz has joined the fray as well. We’ve previously taken a look at Thrustmaster’s TX Racing Wheel but have now been able to put one up against the Mad Catz Pro Racing Force Feedback Wheel thanks to the nice people at Turn 10. Better still, you could win either of them in the 2014 Ars Charity Drive. Over the course of a couple of weeks we put both the TX and the Mad Catz wheels through their paces with both Forza Motorsport 5 and Forza Horizon 2 to see which one deserves pole position.
Design and build quality
Let's start with the Mad Catz Pro Racing wheel first. The wheel’s base is a compact plastic case supported by a powder-coated aluminum frame. At the back are ports to plug in the AC power adapter and the pedals (with what looks like an RJ45 connector), the USB cable that connects to the Xbox One, and a switch to change between 270 degrees and 900 degrees of rotation. The aluminum frame holds the base with two allen bolts on either side. Removing the front bolts allows you to change the angle of the wheel base relative to the frame—the base pivots at the rear bolts, and there are four predrilled holes in the plastic case allowing for up to 15 degrees of rake. You can mount the frame directly to one of Playseat’s gaming seats via predrilled holes, and Mad Catz also includes a pair of plastic clamps to secure the wheel to a desk, table, or, in my case, a Fanatec wheel stand. Oh, there’s also a pair of plastic moldings that you can bolt on to attempt using the wheel on your lap, but I can't recommend doing so.