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How Popular Are Our Favourite PC Racing Sims?

Racing simulators tend to have more longevity than most sports games, but how many people are still playing some of the bigger titles?

Using SteamDB, we can get a reasonably accurate gauge of how many people are currently playing a particular game through Steam. Below I’ve noted the all-time peak concurrent players for some of the more popular titles here at RaceDepartment, plus the 24 hour peak as taken on November 23rd, 2021.

NOTES: SteamDB of course excludes console players and those who might be using an alternative launch method such as Epic. There is also some level of error both in the statistics gathering, and the times when the data was collected. So, please don’t treat the figures below as an absolute value of how many people are playing the title, but rather an overall barometer of how many people are enjoying it on Steam. iRacing statistics are harder to come by, but I will add a footnote if I can gather an accurate player count.

Assetto Corsa
  • All Time Peak – 11,691
  • 24 Hour Peak – 6,824
This modding monster continues to enjoy success eight years after it was first released to the public, thanks in no small part to the great community of creators that keeps AC relevant with new and classic cars and tracks, plus the latest skins of our favourite drivers and teams.

Assetto Corsa Competizione
  • All Time Peak – 6,926
  • 24 Hour Peak – 3,959
The official SRO simulator has been another success for Kunos. On the eve of the release of another major update, thousands of players are still enjoying this GT sim two and a half years after its release on Steam.

Automobilista 2
  • All Time Peak – 1,150
  • 24 Hour Peak – 372
Reiza Studios are hard at work on their biggest physics update so far for AMS2, which is set to be released to the public this month. The title has had its share of doubters, but Reiza has kept its ear to the ground in the sim community and has made major strides since the first release version and will hope to see the number of people enjoying the title continue to climb.

BeamNG.drive
  • All Time Peak – 13,572
  • 24 Hour Peak – 7,932
Known mainly to the layperson as a crash simulator, BeamNG is perhaps better summarized as a physics playground with a huge modding community. This simulator has more players than even Assetto Corsa, and likely owes much of that popularity to the huge selection of car and track mods on offer, much like AC.

F1 2021
  • All Time Peak – 24,513
  • 24 Hour Peak – 11,400
The official game of F1 has enjoyed mostly positive reviews once again this year. And unlike recent years, updates to the title have included new content. Three additional tracks have been added post-release, which seems to be having the effect of sustaining the interest of players, as over 10,000 people on Steam alone are still enjoying playing F1 at any time.

Euro Truck Simulator 2
  • All Time Peak – 61,081
  • 24 Hour Peak – 37,635
This is obviously not a racing sim, but for perspective on the other titles, check out the impressive numbers behind ETS2. Apparently the allure of a chill drive across some of the most beautiful areas on the continent of Europe holds great appeal to gamers.

Most Popular Racing Sims 03.jpg

Forza Horizon 5
  • All Time Peak – 81,096
  • 24 Hour Peak – 37,924
Forza Horizon 5 has broken every sales record for a racing game, and even ignoring the massive player base on console, the concurrent player count is staggering. FH5 continues the series’ open world, consequence free feel, and appeals to the fun-chasing side in racing game fans.

NASCAR 21: Ignition
  • All Time Peak – 323
  • 24 Hour Peak – 42
NASCAR 21’s launch was marred by bugs and bad reviews. As such, the game is off to a slow start. This is the newest title on this list, and should be enjoying its “honeymoon” sales phase, but most of the major complaints about the title have yet to be addressed. The good news? It’s now playable for me since the latest update, so my overdue review should be coming soon.

RaceRoom Racing Experience
  • All Time Peak – 2,630
  • 24 Hour Peak – 1,057
There’s a case to be made that RaceRoom is the most complete racing sim on the market. As such, its popularity has remained strong since its early 2013 release. Content releases have slowed recently, but a well-built multiplayer system keeps players coming back.

rFactor 2
  • All Time Peak – 1,652
  • 24 Hour Peak – 747
rFactor 2 has been praised since its 2015 Steam release as the pinnacle of simulator force feedback and vehicle physics. Either opinion is debatable of course, but there’s no doubt that the driving experience in rF2 can be a pure pleasure. The title is also the preferred sim of many major eSports series, which keeps it relevant and popular with both casual and professional players.

Obviously there are countless other titles that could have been included in this article, so if I missed any titles that could provide interesting data, be sure to share the name and user stats below.
About author
Mike Smith
I have been obsessed with sim racing and racing games since the 1980's. My first taste of live auto racing was in 1988, and I couldn't get enough ever since. Lead writer for RaceDepartment, and owner of SimRacing604 and its YouTube channel. Favourite sims include Assetto Corsa Competizione, Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2, Automobilista 2, DiRT Rally 2 - On Twitter as @simracing604

Comments

iRacing maintains a high average of 8743 simultaneous players. They have peaks over over 11,000 racing at the same time.

That's not total players during a day, that is playing at the exact same time, and that is with over 170,000 active members.
Don't understand why that title wasn't included, or better yet, just why was it left out?
 
So I thought it would be interesting to look up my favourite sims. Peak concurrent player counts for yesterday.

Race 07 = 16
Gtr2 = 2
Automobilista 1 = 127

Astounds me that people still play Race 07. Thought I was the only one.
You shouldn't take the numbers for the two Sim Bin titles seriously. If you play them more then once you need to create your own starter (I think it wasn't more than a shortcut in fact) to not having it forget all settings over and over. If you do that, Steam doesn't recognize it as running anymore, though.
 
You shouldn't take the numbers for the two Sim Bin titles seriously. If you play them more then once you need to create your own starter (I think it wasn't more than a shortcut in fact) to not having it forget all settings over and over. If you do that, Steam doesn't recognize it as running anymore, though.
Yes, you are correct Sarah, I think most GTR2 players go even further and copy the whole game files to a different location on the hard drive to modify the game with mods and not have steam interfere with the files.
 

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