Now, I know what you’re thinking, because I thought it too: a truck driving simulator, really? How can that be fun? I had the same cynical attitude as well before it went on a deep Steam sale, totaling $5 USD. I shrugged, said, “Why not,” and tossed a few dollars toward SCS Software. Ever since, you’d be hard pressed to find me doing anything other than carefully inching my way along European countryside as a humble truck driver. I’ve sunk almost 24 hours into a game about driving a truck in about a week, a baffling prospect as I could get in my real life car at any time, and drive to real life locations at any moment I choose. This brought about an interesting conundrum: why is this game so fun when a game like The Crew simply isn’t.
Let’s get some context on what we’re calling failure and success here though, which will be measured in terms of popularity. Folks who love The Crew will love it; that is their subjective opinion, just as those who do not like the game will have opposing views. But undeniable is the fact that Euro Truck Simulator has MANY more players than The Crew. Euro Truck Simulator 2 has the advantage of being released a year ago, and receiving many patches. But the true numbers are staggering. At the time of writing, The Crew has approximately 4,000 players racing away in-game on Steam, with an all-time peak of 11,000 players on launch weekend. That is a respectable number, but also a bit sad considering the game is only a few weeks old. For the sake of comparison, Far Cry 4 has almost twice that number of players at the time of writing, with a peak of ~17,000, having only released a couple weeks prior and with arguably a much smaller world to explore.
How many players does Euro Truck Simulator 2 have? 18,000, at the time of writing, with an all time peak of 21,000, almost two years after release. That is staggering. The game is consistently in the top 20 games on Steam, competing with the likes of DayZ, Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, and Terraria. How does a game about driving large trucks around compete with such a high pedigree?