An interesting look at the latest player count for a selection of sim racing games recorded from Steam Charts.
I have long been interested in the racing sim market, and find Steam Charts data very interesting. You have to understand what the figures mean though. They do not "prove" which game is "best". They do not tell you how many copies of a game have been sold - just how many people are playing it on average at any one time.
Looking at the average number of players at any one time over the month of January 2019 shows the following
Grand Theft Auto 5 59851
Rocket League 34321
ETS 2 19165
These figures are really just for reference, to remind us the "big boys" are in a completely different league to any racing sim. For every person playing AC there are 10 playing ETS2 and 30 playing GTA5.
The rest of the list includes a mixture of games for two reasons. First it avoids the debate about what title is a "true racing sim". Second, while the figures above clearly indicate the big user base isn't for sim racing, it doesn't mean all games aimed at the more casual player are more popular than racing sims.
Assetto Corsa 1997
BeamNG drive 1908
Project Cars 2 1069
F1 2018 1013
Crew 2 884
Dirt Rally 528
My Summer Car 488
Dirt 4 302
Project Cars 257
F1 2017 216
Assetto Corsa Competizione 155
F1 2016 62
WRC 7 61
Dakar 18 35
Race 07 22
Sadly Steam Charts can't tell us how many play iRacing. Anecdotally it is in the same ballpark as AC.
Surprises? As I have followed Steam Charts for a while I was already familiar with the relative active user-bases for AC/PC2/rF2/RR/AMS. It is perhaps worth pointing out that the January number for both AC and RF2 is the highest monthly average ever, and the figure for PC2 and RR is up on Jan 2018. Perhaps all this talk about growth of sim racing is true
What surprised me was the number of people playing BeamNG drive - that had completely sneaked under my radar.
I also found the Codies numbers interesting as I tend to think of them as a big developer aiming at a broad audience, but actually their player numbers are in the same ballpark as racing sims (on PC at least). Dirt Rally has clearly seen off its newer rival Dirt 4 (on PC at least) which no doubt explains why Codies have gone for Dirt Rally 2 rather than Dirt 5. The WRC and DAKAR numbers indicate the rally market is still hard to succeed in.
The numbers for Project CARS (1) and F1-2017 confirm what you might expect - that most players move on when the replacement comes out. The exception seems to be ACC. Granted, ACC isn't a direct replacement for AC, it is in Early Access and it is incomplete. I'm sure the player numbers will rise come full release but they are starting from a low base.
As a fan of older sims I was curious about their popularity. RACE 07, while not steam exclusive, has been on steam since launch and most current players are likely to be playing on Steam so I opted for this. The player numbers are very low.
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