Retailing for nearly $2,000 and cementing itself as the ultimate piece of sim racing hardware for the most hardcore of virtual racers among us, the SimXperience AccuForce Pro Direct Drive Wheel is a toy steering wheel in name only. A serious upgrade from the high end Fanatec and Thrustmaster offerings, the flagship SimXperience wheel has become somewhat of a mythical beast among the sim racing community; those who brave the hefty price tag are sent a steering wheel that the brand claims will revolutionize the way you play racing sims well into the future. With YouTube reviews of the lucrative product skyrocketing into multi-hour affairs, it’s no question that people are desperate for information regarding a product that only an elite group of sim racers own. However, as a Reader Submission we’ve received today points out, the Direct Drive fad seems to be burning out at an alarming rate.
Hey James. I have been observing a variety of different threads on the iRacing forums from the beginning of the year, and there seems to a lot of people deciding to part ways with their AccuForce wheels after a few short months of ownership. Even users who have purchased kits or the parts to build Open Sim Wheels via guides put out from community members are also selling their kits. Keep in mind, these open source style kits can end up costing nearly as much as a base Accuforce that is put together by the company itself.
I have a lot of suspicions regarding this phenomenon, as again these are all brand new postings, as you can see by the time stamps. Are these wheels not as hyped up as they seem to be? Or are there these new users simply finding out that the games that they’re playing are not in a state which would make use of these high powered wheels?
I am also noticing a bit of friction between the AccuForce support staff, and the owners themselves. A good deal of owners are waiting on support and/or repairs for their wheels (as is to be expected), and in both instances given no estimated time as to when their support tickets will be received and evaluated by the staff.
I also find it very odd that a company selling such high end products has also opted to not allow the license for their wheels to be transferred to other users. Unlike the Logitech Profiler software that comes standard with each wheel and can be downloaded free of charge from the official Logitech website, Accuforce requires you to pay them $89 to download their custom-built profiler software. So if you’re picking up an AccuForce wheel off someone from a sim racing forum, you’re adding $89 to your purchase.
Just found this to be very interesting. Keep my name as Jake from State Farm or something.
EDIT: Let’s get this right, because it’s no longer 10 PM and I can approach this topic again. The profiler software for the wheel is free, but requires a license transferal process between owners – something AccuForce claims they’ll walk users through upon selling their wheel to another owner. Alright, sounds good. However, the software to run the same company’s SimVibe technology is $89. So it’s not the wheel profiler costing more than a game, it’s software to run sound & feedback enhancements properly.
I guess the angle now is to question why AccuForce wheel owners get confused about this in the first place? Maybe the process isn’t made explicitly clear upon purchase? As I’ve said in the comments below, guys who already own these wheels are coming out and saying in the ad that “there is no software included so don’t buy this unless you own the Sim Commander profiler software”, so a greater effort must be made on the part of AccuForce to clear up the confusion.
But regardless, I still believe the Direct Drive wheel fad is almost over. With three or four of these wheels being made available for second-hand purchase after only a few months of play… It sure is interesting. This was a wheel many deemed to be an investment, meaning you’re looking at a lifespan of several years, and in the opening weeks of 2016 we’ve already got a handful of guys saying “nah, I’m looking to get rid of the thing.” You could blame the games, but then again there are people who really like iRacing or Assetto Corsa despite their flaws, and sink hundreds upon hundreds of hours into them. Sure, it makes us question their sanity, but having an extremely durable steering wheel for a racing sim they play almost every single day is hardly a bad thing.
My take on the Direct Drive craze has always been to ridicule the gear snobs. Most modern racing sims, with the exception of iRacing, are anywhere between $30 and $60, running on various game engines that first saw a commercial release over a decade ago. It’s just a little too crazy to drop $2,000 on a toy steering wheel so you can have better Force Feedback effects in a $30 game. In real life racing, there are actually rules against this kind of reckless spending – Chump Car or Le Mons mandate your car to be valued at less than $500, and your local short track can force certain cars that are obviously going to destroy the competition to participate in a quicker class. To take things a step further, some sim racers defend their choice to jump into the direct drive craze by claiming it’s the ultimate way to increase the realism in their sim of choice, but the reality is that it’s actually cheaper to drive a shitbox for a full season by a few hundred dollars.