You might have noticed we’ve been working our tails off to make X-Plane 11 an amazing sim, with tons of new features, and during that time we didn’t have the resources to do anything further with our proposal to publish X-Plane usage data. The good news about our delay is: we now have usage data for both X-Plane 10 and X-Plane 11.

Since one of us (ahem) remembered we had promised to provide this at intervals, here’s the latest data update. It’s still not particularly pretty, but we have a handful of easy-to-digest charts, plus the raw data at the bottom of the post for those that are interested.

Items of note

All data in these charts are for users of the full version only—we’ve filtered out demo users.

If an aircraft’s name, studio, or number of engine fields in Plane Maker are changed at any point, the aircraft will show up in the data as two different entries.


Aircraft categories by popularity

X-Plane 10 popular aircraft categories

X-Plane 11 popular aircraft categories


Users with at least this much RAM

Flight controls in X-Plane 10 & 11

Operating Systems running X-Plane 11

GPU Manufacturers

Raw Data

There are four files here: hardware data and aircraft data, for X-Plane 10 & 11. Each contains all the information we have since September 2015, for paying customers only (no demo users).

About Jennifer Roberts

Jennifer came to X-Plane to update the manuals and stayed for the bug testing. You'll most likely see her answering bug reports or making video tutorials.

37 comments on “Usage Data for X-Plane 10 & 11

  1. It doesn’t really say a lot because I feel like the difference can easily explained away by the fact that a lot of airliners and third party planes in general simply don’t work in X-Plane 11 yet. But I would LOVE to see this again in a year or so down the line when X-Plane 11 is stable and third parties had a chance to update their planes.

    1. The same caveat applies to the hardware analysis: it’s possible that the reason the average V11 user’s hardware is so much more powerful than V10 is simply because we’re still in beta, and the betas by nature only attract the “hardcore” sim users.

      (Of course, it’s also possible that users are by nature self-selecting based on hardware, and people with older, slower machines are simply not making the jump to V11.)

  2. This blows me away.

    I am gobsmacked by the fact that the majority of the users use mouse as their primary flight control which makes me believe most of the users do like me, boot up and check something in game. That be scenery, airplane, settings etc. For me its like 95/5 were 5 percent is flying. Wish it was more but that’s me.. Percentage of all flights in XP11 is done by default aircraft, which makes sense because of third party issues with getting compatible and so on. I think when more and more devs get on track and releases upgrades or patches, this statistic will rise. One thing I do miss in this usage data is VRAM data, how much is common? Here I would imagine 2 or 4GB most likely the latter as X-Plane in my mind is heavily oriented that way (good). Did not analyze the cvs file for aircrafts in XP11 due to not having the right tool, but from what I saw It surprised me a bit that ERJ-140_v2.2 was more or less from what I could see if not the most used third party airplane in XP11 on of them. Actually thought that would be IXEG for some reasons. Lots of planes with about 4 percent, but did not catch many over 5 percent, though I did not sort the data either. Fun! So thank you for this awesome statistics 🙂

    1. Hi … the IXEG many of those who bought in x-aviation have problems to reactivate the product in XP11, also it has not yet been updated to V11, but by the amount of videos on Youtube is one of the most popular aircraft together To the FF757, FF767, JARDesign 320 and 330, most general aviation planes do not work very well in XP11 I’m sure that when the final version comes out the statistics will increase in V11. Many are (I include myself) flying the default aircraft in general aviation and those of airlines that were updated for the V11 … FF757-767-777-A350 SSG E-Jets 170 Evolution, etc.

    2. 31.8% == majority of users? Back to school for you I guess 🙂
      But the number IS surprisingly high.

    3. Shocking indeed. The last time I used my mouse as a flight controller was in X-Plane 5.

      The XInput gamepad would deserve better stats if it was actually usable. The default controls are poor and the right stick is just not working at all.

    4. I agree with you Tom. I fire up the sim, check around the scenery, maybe fly a little and then quit. 99% of the time I don’t use X-Plane as a sim but as something that I develop for, but then again I’m not 99.9% of users. Sorry Ben and co, this is not about X-Plane but more about how I use the sim, it’s more a SDK for me than a sim.

      I’m actually amazed 2GB is so common. I used this mainly in XP10 and performance was a bit ho-hum at best (especially with my sceneries). After upgrading to a 1070 with 8GB scenery, this scenery blows all others out of the water.

    5. Mouse flyer here, don’t own any joysticks or yokes or anything flight-related (but own a nice steering wheel/pedals setup for sim racing.)

      Been flying XP10 mouse-only for years.

  3. Thanks for sharing this, Jennifer. Very interesting as always.

    I hope you guys decide to share this regularly. Would be interesting to see an updated version every, say, 6 months or major 11.x version update.

    1. I was surprised this number isn’t higher. Laptops have become very common (because they’re not more expensive, they are more portable, and for most common user domains extra computing power isn’t that useful) and discrete GPUs are becoming less common in laptops. So I expected a higher percent of users ‘stuck’ with an Intel GPU and no easy upgrade path.

      The numbers for Intel for demo users are _way_ higher.

  4. Would you publish the denominator that lead to these percentages ?
    Just by curiosity… not (yet) preparing a takeover bid on Laminar 🙂

    1. This got brought up last time we posted the data…

      For what it’s worth, the number of users running with analytics is *not* particularly useful for estimating the size of the X-Plane market, simply because that number is incomplete.

      For instance, you’d need to know things like:

      – what percentage of users opt in to the analytics
      – how many separate “users” in the analytics are actually the same person using different machines
      – the rate of “churn” (how many users in a given period *stop* using X-Plane compared to how many new users get added)

      So, while the number of users running with analytics gives you a *lower* bound on the size of the X-Plane user base, it doesn’t establish an upper bound. (Heck, *we* don’t have the ability to derive the upper bound, since of course not all X-Plane users actually bought the software from us.)

      With that said, suffice it to say that the metrics above are derived from hundreds of thousands of flights.

  5. It would be really interesting to see Laminar’s deductions from these stats.

    Would you say
    ‘people are using less military, so we will spend less effort focusing on them’
    ‘the military stat has dropped – what can we do to increase this?’

    Certainly, removing planes such as the F-22 and F-4 will no doubt affect the data…

    1. You’ve hit upon one of the main uncertainties with respect to actually making decisions based on the data. This comes up in a lot of different places…

      – First- versus third-party flights: As other people in the thread have pointed out, it’s possible that the percentage of flights in third-party planes has dropped in X-Plane 11 because of issues bringing over V10 aircraft.
      – Hardware: we can’t say whether people are buying better hardware to run V11, or if it’s simply the case that only the people who *already* had solid hardware are upgrading from V10.

      In general, I’d say we are not jumping to conclusions about anything. To the extent that GA planes and airliners have been the top categories for a long time, we do put more resources toward them… but we’re not going to say “okay, let’s give up on fighters as a category.”

      1. Also, I’ve got to ask what constitutes as a ‘Primary flight control’.
        If thats a measure of ‘a users *most* used input’ then thats not giving a great picture – as Tom pointed out, like myself I’ll even open up X-plane and tinker with the mouse, or just keys (hit the C key, shoot the camera around, etc) quite a lot.

        ‘Primary flight controls for non-mouse users’
        Is this anyone who’s used a mouse is removed from the stats?
        Or just people who’s mouse is not their most used input device?
        As above, what is a ‘non-mouse user’.

        I’d think its an important stat to show “whether you primarily use a mouse or not, what percentage of total users have *access* to a %yoke %joystick %gamepad”
        (this could be your stat already, maybe only I’m picking on the naming)

        (erm, excuse the passion – stats are hard and I <3 clear stats)

        1. It’s a lot simpler than that, actually: if you *have* a joystick, yoke, or game pad plugged in, we count you in that bucket. If you sometimes launch the sim with a USB device and other times without, you get counted in whichever bucket you were in last.

          Thus, non-mouse users are just the sum of all people whose most recent use of the sim had a USB device plugged in.

          Without new engineering work, we don’t have a way to gather metrics on percentage of users who have *ever* used a USB device.

  6. Folks like me (assuming others do the same) probably skew the aircraft data chart a bit. As I tweak scenery, settings, add-ons, and frankly just learn this platform, I tend to jump into a GA aircraft just to quickly look around. The flights don’t get finished. When I’m ready to go, I jump in an ‘airliner’ and spend much more time there completing the flight from start to finish.

  7. Is there an general count of users of XP10 and 11 you can publish. As a scenery developer I’m very interested in this number but of course I understand if it’s not something you want to publish. I’m also amazed to see Mac at such at high percentages, and I think it’s time for devs to understand and listen. The 1% of Linux is actually no surprise (but they are a very vocal group), although I’m sure Andras would argue that with me 😉

    1. Hi Tony,

      We generally don’t publish total sales numbers – I don’t think we ever have in the past.

      Re: Mac, before ACES was closed, the platform split was 50-50, so what you see is part of a steady decline of Mac use. The Linux users are also going down – in that Linux has been higher than 1% but never above 5%.

      1. Is it a decline of Mac use, or an increase of Windows folks coming over from Windows-only platforms like FSX/P3D, thus changing the percentages? Just curious.

        1. For Mac vs Win, I think increase in Windows use. We’ve moved a lot more copies of new versions, and I think it offsets the decline in percent.

          But…the relative balance of Macs vs Windows as appropriate flight sim machines has also shifted. A decade ago you could go buy a big mac pro and super size the GPU, and while you’d paid through the nose compared to a Windows gamer, you got a lot of computing power. These days Apple doesn’t make a machine that fits that slot, because they don’t provide an internally configurable machine, and gamer parts are still on the inside.

          1. even the current Mac Pro which is now 4+ years old gets spanked by a budget windows box with a 150 buck GPU and with the Pro using both GPUs which it cant for Xplane

            again i think LR needs to take a hard look if its even worth supporting Metal or just move to DX11 with better dev tools and leave current OpenGL for people that MUST stay on Mac

  8. If you can get to the pilot flight log in both X-Plane 10 and 11, and look at the number of flight hours, and aircraft there, and the flight activity, those records should be more enlightening than the data you are presently collecting. This is especially true because all developers are using X-Plane as a debug tool for Scenery and AC design. I suspect that your statistics are very hard to use as a gauge for comparison between user types, and true Simulator Flight usage. The real results, as you say, are hard to nail down for true Simulator Users actually flying their aircraft.

    1. Maybe flights shorter than 5-7 minutes should be discarded from the stats. Scenery testing, plugin testing, performance tuning, weather assessments and bugs checking are common scenarios which are usually performed under this time frame and may skew the results. On the other hand, simple circuit around the airport will probably take more than 7 minutes. And I would say focus should be on how simulator is used and not on how it is fiddled with. Or if it is important as well, divide the data into 2 groups – all flights and short flights excluded.

    2. To the extent that developer use (or any non-flight activities in general) introduces noise into the data, we expect it to introduce noise *in proportion* to the real use cases they’re testing for. So, for instance, if a developer opens the same work-in-progress airliner a hundred times, you would expect that the *real* users of that airliner would use it orders of magnitude more than that. (It would be very strange if that were not the case!)

        1. That is true, if you can tell the proportion of noise data is marginal to useable data. I’m not saying that it isn’t, just that the noise is generated by both developers and users, if not even much more by users.

  9. Why ignoring the Demo users? They are prospective customers (In my case I had v5, skipped versions 6 and 7, got v8 (was very much disappointed from the fact that 8.0 updated to 8.20 was different from an 8.20 being sold, making it impossible to use the scenery I had bought), got v9, skipped v10, now watching v11beta…
    I also guess Windows 10 is forcing users to look for alternatives. Except from lacking speech output X-Plane 11 works amazingly well under Linux, even on an older OpenSUSE 13.2 (which is obsolete now).

    1. It’s not that we, as a company, are ignoring demo users… far from it! But we provide this data primarily for the sake of third-party scenery/aircraft/plugin developers, and for their purposes, demo users are really *not* their target market. (It would be very strange, for instance, for a demo user to buy a third-party add-on!)

  10. Thanks for the usage data, it’s an interesting read. Although, as a scientist, I cannot consider valid any data that doesn’t give the sample size. In other words, I miss the “n” that’s so prominent (indeed, crucial) in any statistic. I understand that for commercial reasons you’re loathe to publish the exact numbers, but “hundreds of thousands of flights” just doesn’t cut it. What matters *a lot* is the balance of the XP10 versus the XP11 sample size, and from these data that’s impossible to gauge. I’d imagine that “many” flights in XP11 still is a lot less than “many” flights in XP10 – skewing the whole analysis. The specs & habits of a (relatively) small number of early adopters could wreck the whole image. In particular the hefty changes in the small percentages could well be entirely due to such effects (in biology I’d call them “founder effects”). I’ll out myself here and now as one of that small (but “very vocal” – yay !) group of Linux users and while we’re used to be squeezed aside by the bulk of much bigger numbers I especially object when that happens because of people’s blind faith in nicely coloured lines going up and down. There’s no *too* many statistics-savvy people out there, and without even the absolute basic denominator there’s no end to the conclusions that people can come to….

    best regards,

  11. Could you also provide us with the airport usage data? This would sure be very interessting for Gateway Artists. Very interessing stats so far!

Comments are closed.