If you check around, at least one dealer received a shipment of Qanba’s with Seimitsu parts in them.
There’s a difference there otherwise, yeah, the Qanbas and EightArc sticks are the same. It’s sort of like the same situation with the license-produced cars in the US. For while, GM was producing a licensed variant of the Toyota Corolla called the Geo Prizm for its Geo line of cars. Very minor styling changes on the body, different seating options, and radio, but otherwise the same exact vehicle. Savvy buyers would get the Prizm because it was around $1200-$1500 cheaper than the Corolla!
Not so much difference between the Qanba and EightArc’s although the EightArc’s tend to be more expensive.
I have been looking at getting a Qanba in the future (with Seimitsu parts). I just haven’t heard anything bad about them here but I generally don’t go into the forum areas where people trash-talk, either. I don’t think that the Qanba’s are still anywhere as popular as the Horis and Mad Catz’s in the States (I hear about stick releases here but practically nowhere else on the web besides other hardcore fighting/tourney related websites) but they obviously have grabbed the lion’s share of the dual stick market of game players who do NOT want to do soldering or futz around with upgrade parts for the existing licensed joysticks… What they have in the US is doing well enough that they’ve at least become a solid third-place choice. I wouldn’t be surprised if they became the Number Two vendor in the US depending on who screws up within the next 18 months (assuming that Capcom and the other developers don’t continue the path they’re on to reproduce the fighting game glut of the mid-1990s — I am not that hopeful that they’re that smart, though…).
Can’t say I blame the people who’ve said “F’it” and just bought Qanbas. Stick upgrade/replacement PCB’s are not cheap and the Qanbas are more economical for dual-system users. Plus the styling has turned out a lot nicer than most of us expected and it doesn’t scream cheap like the Exar product does… The only reason to do replacement PCB’s for most of us is if we want to use the higher-quality controllers (joysticks) of today on retro-systems (SNES, Sega Saturn, Sega Dreamcast, 3DO, XBox, PS1/2, etc.) or if our original Hori/Mad Catz/Qanba PCB’s go bad. There’s still room for that market, too, as long as the old systems hold up and emulation gets limited by the lack of documentation for certain systems and written info on their CPU architecture. There are still legitimate technical reasons to hold on to some of the old systems!