Valve: Only 118,000 wheel players on Steam at max! - Team VVV

The latest racing gaming news from Team VVV Forums Racing Gaming Valve: Only 118,000 wheel players on Steam at max!

This topic contains 8 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Alan Boiston Alan Boiston 7 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #43624
    TylerDurden4321
    TylerDurden4321
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    Valve just dropped some charts about controller usage (link to article):

    Since 2015…
    – 30 million Steam users have used a controller with Steam,
    – 15 million have used more than one type of controller (one person can be found multiple times in the chart above, if they ever used more different controllers)
    no more than 118,410 have used a racing wheel !

    That’s a bit shocking for me, since I feel the majority of console wheel gamers have used their wheel at least once with a PC racing game they maybe already owned before they got a wheel. So, overall, my guess would be that there are about 150,000 people who play games with a wheel throughout all platforms.

    My guess before this was that there were about 400k people with a wheel.
    I’m a bit shocked about how niche my hobby actually is. On the other hand, it explains why Codemasters wanted to include the less hardcore rally gamers again even after DiRT Rally was such a success…. and it also explains why so few people bought pCARS2 at launch, given the vast(est!) majority only got to experience pCARS1 with a gamepad (not a great experience in my opinion).

    What are your thoughts? Can this be right?

    #43733
    Ninja-Badger
    Ninja-Badger
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    Points: 158
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    I’m not surprised that its a low number.
    I’m more surprised by the number of rockband instruments.

    I remember when Codemasters confirmed there wouldn’t be a cockpit cam in Grid2 because it wasn’t worth the resources (considering barely anyone used it in the previous game).

    If you skim through https://steamcharts.com/ you can see the sort of numbers racing games are getting (in terms of people playing).
    Also keep in mind a few games, such as iRacing, run off their own client. But even then, iRacing boasts of 70,000 members.

    #43767
    TylerDurden4321
    TylerDurden4321
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    Points: 61
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    Also keep in mind a few games, such as iRacing, run off their own client. But even then, iRacing boasts of 70,000 members.

    Good point with iRacing. How many people do you know, who have a wheel and what’s the percentage of them having played iRacing in the last 3 years?

    Personally, most of the people I know somewhat personally online that have a wheel – most of them have some serious equipment, Direct Drive and PT1/Heusinkveld pedal owners, meaning they’re pretty well off, they have the money for iRacing – and not more than 50 to 60% have played iRacing lately. I wouldn’t believe the number is higher than 30% of wheel owners that have played iRacing in the last 3 years. Also, out of all iRacing sim racers I know, nobody plays ONLY iRacing and wouldn’t have connected their wheel to play a game on Steam.

    If 95% of those 70,000 iRacing subscribers have a wheel and not more than 30% of wheel owners have played iRacing in the last 3 years, that would add up to about 220,000 wheel owners. I know, a lot of bad estimates, but anything oder 200,000 sounds really low to me.

    About music instruments: Guitar Hero and Rock Band were huuuge for a while. The first Guitar Hero sold over 10 million copies and, checking this on Wikipedia, in 2008 the biggest gaming franchises were Mario, Guitar Hero and Rock Band (holy shit!). The entry price for the hardware is almost nonexistent these days as you can’t even give those instruments away to charity, they have too many of those already. What is surprising is that people connected them in 2015-2018 to a PC with Steam running, since the newest versions are on console only (Rockband lost their Fig crowdfunding campaign for a new Rock Band on PC in 2016). Maybe a lot of those instruments in the survey are real guitars to be played with Rocksmith?? *shrugs*
    Checking Steam Spy: Their estimate for Rocksmith 2014 owners on Steam is 500,000 to 1,000,000.

    #43785
    Ninja-Badger
    Ninja-Badger
    Participant
    Points: 158
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    Ah. I forgot about Rocksmith.

    I’m also surprise by the SNES controller count.
    Not so much the number (I realise emulation and retro-style games are big), but I didn’t know Steam could detect them as such (assumed it would go under “PC Gamepad”).

    I’ve only met four people with PC wheel set-ups. One of which was into iRacing.

    Out of friends on Steam, maybe four or five have wheels. But, keep in mind, I don’t really dive deep into online sim racing.

    #43816
    TylerDurden4321
    TylerDurden4321
    Participant
    Points: 61
    Rank: Newbie

    I saw people discussing that their PS4 controller would be recognized as an Xbox 360 controller if they use DS4Windows (that was the driver thing you needed, before Valve made their own DS4 controller support happen) and were guessing many of those Xbox 360 controllers might be DS4s really, but my personal guess is that Steam extrapolated the data from people who were willing to undergo the hardware survey and read out the hardware id and cross match it with their own database.

    That would still mean many of the cheaper SNES controllers would fall under PC Gamepad, as you said, but the more unique and expensive ones like an 8BitDo SNES pad (those even work on Wii U and Switch IIRC) could be recognized and then filed under SNES-controllers.

    Gamecube controller higher than wheel and DIY controllers together is insane too.

    #43824
    Alan Boiston
    Alan Boiston
    Keymaster
    Points: 274
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    One thing you have to consider is, what percentage of those games are driving games?
    Then what percentage of driving games players are using a wheel?
    Over what period? You might find the most committed players regularly use a wheel.
    How have the stats changed? I would bet a very different stat 8 years ago, this would show a radical rise in wheel use and ownership.

    Data like this can be quite misleading when quoted out of context.

    The key aspect for wheel companies is understanding what prevents growth.

    #45771
    Travis
    Travis
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    Points: 48
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    Interesting.

    Wheels remain a niche product and I wonder how Valve got their numbers.

    #45813
    TylerDurden4321
    TylerDurden4321
    Participant
    Points: 61
    Rank: Newbie

    Interesting.
    Wheels remain a niche product and I wonder how Valve got their numbers.

    Saw someone mentioning that Steam gathers the information over time with hardware IDs that were connected. When you then agree to take part in the Steam hardware survey, it’s just pulling and sending the collected data.
    This makes the most sense so far, since the original article also shows usage numbers of PS4 vs XB1 controller over the last month (did people that own at least one of these controller actually play a game with it in the last month).

    If – as most people assumed – the survey would only search for connected devices on the day someone gets asked to take part in the survey, then the usage data wouldn’t make any sense, unless they specifically asked the Steam user about their controller habits in the last month, which nobody mentioned, so I think it’s less likely.

    This then would mean that Valve’s numbers can’t be super far off, which is hard to believe for me. Should be at the very very least double their number.

    #45927
    Alan Boiston
    Alan Boiston
    Keymaster
    Points: 274
    Rank: Newbie

    Saw someone mentioning that Steam gathers the information over time with hardware IDs that were connected. When you then agree to take part in the Steam hardware survey, it’s just pulling and sending the collected data.

    Yes they’ll know what hardware is connected and being used, but again data can be very subjective depending on how it it sourced and what locations it covers.

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