The only advantage Mad Catz really has over Hori is availability… At this time, it’s easier to pick up a Mad Catz joystick in a store than the Hori models BUT over the past 2 years or so it’s become more and more the case that you have to generally joysticks – any manufacturer, period – online… that is unless you live near a higher-end speciality videogame shop that actually stocks joysticks. Most local Best Buy’s, Wal-Marts, Gamestop’s, etc., will not have joysticks in-stock.
Nuts to the whole “Mad Caz has the parts advantage over Hori” argument. Most of the Hori joysticks people buy (higher-end HRAP models) use the exact same Sanwa arcade parts that Mad Catz installs in the TE and FightStick Pro model joysticks. Since late 2009, the high-end Hori joysticks have been full-up HRAP SA (Sanwa “Addition”) joysticks with the same model Sanwa JLF joysticks and OBSF-series buttons Mad Catz’s higher-end joystick use. Prior to late 2009, Hori HRAP’s generally shipped with Sanwa JLF’s as standard equipment but with Hori OEM buttons… old-style Hori OEM buttons are widely regarded as inferior to Sanwa and Seimitsu button product but that’s not longer the case as of 2012.
Right now, Hori appears to be transitioning towards using its own arcade-spec parts in its newer-production HRAP joysticks (as of this past January). These are the parts they introduced in 2012 in their Fighting Edge joystick line. The Hori Hayabusa joystick lever and Kuro buttons are as good as the Sanwa and Seimitsu equivalent arcade parts. These new Hori parts are good enough that they were optioned as equipment for Taito VLX control panels for standard cabinets in Japanese arcades. The good news is that if you don’t like those parts, they’re easily swapped out for alternate Japanese arcade spec parts just like the Sanwa parts installed in the Mad Catz joysticks and earlier Hori HRAP’s were.