A couple weeks ago, I ran an article detailing the absurd cost of buying a Direct Drive Wheel, and how those who have enough disposable income to drop $2000 on a top-of-the-line toy steering wheel for their insignificant computer games should explore all alternative options before busting out their credit card for a brand new Accuforce product with only marginally improved Force Feedback effects.
Just by searching my local online classifieds, I was able to both find an entry level stock car and a sanctioned licensing course for less than the cost of an Accuforce wheel, putting these newfangled Direct Drive Wheels into “why did you pay $2000 for a toy steering wheel when you could go racing in real life for the same amount” territory. PRC.net readers were torn on the article, with some claiming the costs of maintaining an amateur-level race car skyrocket after only a few races, with others readers claiming “you’re doing it wrong” if maintaining a Hornet car eats away at your wallet.
But I think a recent thread on Reddit takes home the grand prize…
Currently popular among sportsman and clubman drivers in various disciplines of amateur and historic auto racing, the BMW M3 E30, first introduced in 1986, became a star in both Australia and Europe for it’s utter dominance in the ATCC, WTCC, and DTM championships. Factory teams campaigned the car well past its expiration date, and the car has even seen use outside of circuit based endeavors, with Patrick Snijers daring to take the car off-road at WRC events in the late 1980’s. The German sedan could do it all, and properly cemented itself within the history books of auto racing.
It’s important to note that there are probably external circumstances governing this decision. Maybe the wife wanted that damn car out of the garage? Maybe the local track closed up and increasing travel costs made venturing to another track out of the budget? Maybe nagging problems with the car cost too much to fix? Maybe there weren’t enough buddies kicking around to help crew for a weekend event? Maybe the engine or chassis were sitting in several pieces on the garage floor? Maybe bills needed to be paid or an unexpected expense came up? Maybe it was cheaper in the long run to stay home and play video games?
Reddit user azrilnazril never answers these questions, only directly stating he sold a highly sought-after race car so he could put the money towards buying an expensive toy steering wheel to play computer games with. We now live in an era where people are dropping cool hobbies that got them out of the house on weekends so they can afford to sit inside and run laps on Assetto Corsa by themselves, and even worse, people will defend this and claim you can’t really feel what the car is doing in-game unless you drop a paycheck or two on one of these elusive toy wheels.
None of this expensive gear is required, either – Direct Drive Wheels are relatively new and marketed primarily towards professional simulation setups and consumers with an abundance of disposable income. Your average sim racer is never expected to make huge sacrifices – like selling a car – for a toy steering wheel. Most good wheels retail in the $200 – $300 range and are more than adequate for the games currently on the market. Dev teams haven’t even began developing for Direct Drive Wheels because almost nobody owns them.
And the greatest part about all of this is something a PRC.net reader Trimaz mentioned the last time an article was posted about Direct Drive Wheels:
The best all-around wheel on the market currently is still the Logitech G27, which you can find for around $200 if you look in the right places. There is no logical reason to sell a car, especially one of a race-prepped M3 E30’s caliber, in order to afford a toy steering wheel so your $30 PC driving game feels more immersive.
You know what feels more immersive than a Direct Drive Wheel?