Data Suggests HTC Vive Install Base Is Around 50,000 Headsets

by Anshel Sag • May 9th, 2016

Since the HTC Vive’s launch back on April 5 many people have been wondering exactly how many they’ve shipped. HTC did have some issues with their payment processing platform which caused some orders to be cancelled, but for the most part they did ship a significant number of units in April.

Using SteamDB and SteamSpy we were able to gather some interesting data about Vive sales. Namely, by using the sales of the free bundled titles for those that pre-ordered. Those titles are Fantastic Contraption, Job Simulator and Tilt Brush. Based on the data from SteamSpy, we have been able to gather that the total install base of HTC Vives is around 50,000 units. Additionally, of those 50,000 units, approximately 35,000 are consumer HTC Vives that are actual pre-orders.

The consumer numbers are found by looking at the Job Simulator version which only released on April 5th, and was made available only on that date. Both Fantastic Contraption and Tilt Brush were available ahead of time. Also, some pre-order consumers did receive their Vives before April 5th, so the 35,000 number accounts for them as well as people that got their Vives on April 5th in locales in time zones ahead of the US. All of these numbers point to pretty strong Vive sales and perhaps we could see even stronger May figures from HTC. Of course, the Vive install base could be higher if a significant percentage of buyers opted not to redeem and install the free software. The reality is that we are really starting to see figures that align with my projections from last year.

I believe these numbers are slightly better than some would have expected from an $800 HMD, but there is a very good chance that HTC has actually shipped more than 35,000 Vives in the past month. This is because Steam’s numbers do not reflect any of the HTC Vive sales in countries where Steam isn’t available, like China. While nobody actually knows exactly how big the Chinese VR market is, there is no question the Vive sits atop that market. We do know that there are hundreds of thousands of VR headsets being sold in China, but they are extremely inexpensive and low resolution.

What will be interesting to see is how the HTC Vive numbers stack up against the Oculus Rift and exactly how big the PC VR market really has become. Unfortunately, many of us were expecting Facebook to break out Oculus numbers or at least to indicate how many pre-orders there were of the Rift, but they were mum on the topic and barely mentioned Oculus during the call. This is very likely due to the fact that the Rift is experiencing delays and we probably won’t know real Rift sales numbers until the end of Q2 in July.

The holiday season will very likely be the next big opportunity for HTC and Valve along with Oculus to increase their VR headset sales. That is unless one of them makes a very big content announcement that could bring even more users into the VR fray. Ultimately, both companies are going to need to figure out ways to continue to move sales throughout the year between the period of time when they ship pre-orders and when holiday shopping begins. That will be the most challenging time for both companies and when the hype of VR may die down the most. Oculus has a much longer schedule for deliveries and still has to deliver Touch, so they may actually keep busy for longer than HTC until the holiday shopping season.

We have reached out to HTC for comment on this story. Their response was not available at the time of publication.

Post contributed by Anshel Sag, a technology industry analyst and Staff Technologist at Moor Insights & Strategy extensively covering VR as well as the smartphone and PC computing space. He can be found on Twitter at @anshelsag and regularly attends most major technology industry events including many VR conferences.

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