I have been playing racing and driving games for as long as I can remember. But, I have always used a controller. Just a standard controller that is meant for the specific system the game is played on.
But I have always wondered; is a racing wheel really worth it? Are there any true benefits? Or advantages?
Today I want to look at this a little deeper to find out if getting a racing wheel is really worth it or not; what the basic and advanced benefits are (if any), the advantages (lap speed, ease of use, etc) as well as some of the best racing wheel products out there. I have a feeling this is going to be a long one, so you might want to bookmark it!
Looking at all of the Gran Turismo Sport, Forza Motorsport, Forza Horizon and even Need For Speed forums I see a lot of people talking about immersion. Essentially immersion deals with feeling like you’re really driving versus putting your hands on a controller and moving the buttons. According to a lot of players; immersion with a racing wheel does for you what a virtual reality headset does for video games. It makes it seem more real.
Again, going through tons of posts and pages on these car forums; people have done extensive tests in lap times. 1 race was done using a controller. 1 race was done using a wheel.
The results: Using a wheel almost always shaves off a few seconds from your lap time. I would assume this is because its a more efficient way to race. It’s smoother, its easier to “drive” the car with a wheel than a controller, and it’s more efficient.
New Technology vs Older Technology
If you look at older posts – people using older technology, they all pretty much say that if you’re looking to go fast; the controller is your best option. On the other hand, if you look at posts from the past 1-2 years, people say that technology has gotten MUCH better on a racing wheel and that you can now go just as fast with a racing wheel, that you can with a controller.
Controllers Take Up Less Space
You would think a wheel wouldn’t take up a ton of space, right? But, these products tend to be pretty bulky. Where you can just shove your controller in a desk or a drawer in your game room or hang it on a controller stand; you can’t do this with a racing wheel. Really, they just stick out like a sore thumb, and because they are so big and bulky; its hard to find a place to store the racing wheel.
Also; you need to have a proper setup. Some people use tables for their racing wheels, others buy an extensive wheel with a stand and even more; some people MacGyver their wheel by propping it up against something.
You don’t have to worry about this with a controller!
Controllers Are Less Expensive
Again, going back to my fellow gamers, they all agree that a controller is MUCH less expensive. Most Xbox One controllers cost around $60-$70 for a brand new controller. Xbox One Elite controllers cost around $140. Racing wheels? The really good ones, with a lot of reviews, high ratings, etc can cost anywhere between $95 for an Xbox 360 version to $1300 or more.
If you’re reading this now – the next article is going to talk about some of the best racing wheels available right now.