HTC Vive Increases Lead Over Rift Again In Post-Black Friday Steam Hardware Survey

by Jamie Feltham • December 4th, 2017

The HTC Vive has managed to buck a troubling trend from the past few months in the latest Steam hardware survey.

November’s survey results, which Steam users opt into, are now in. They show that the Vive has actually managed to increase its lead over Rift in terms of headset usage on Steam, whereas the past few months have seen the gap shrink. In October Vive held 48.76% of the VR usage on the platform, while Rift held 47.61%, putting just over a percent between the two. In November, Vive’s usage is up to 49.5%, while Rift’s is down to 46.03%.

It’s quite a surprising result that suggests (though in no way confirms) Vive enjoyed an uptick in sales last month. November, of course, holds massive Black Friday sales events, and Vive could be found at many retailers with the same $599.99 price tag, but bundling in the Vive Deluxe Audio Strap which includes integrated headphones and a better overall design (and is worth $100 itself), as well as a pre-order copy of Doom VFR for free. A pre-order copy of Fallout 4 VR was also included, though this deal was running long before Black Friday.

It might be a good deal, but Black Friday also saw the Rift drop to its lowest price yet at $349. It could be that, after such a dramatic drop to $399 earlier in the year, there aren’t many people left to buy Rift in this price bracket, or perhaps the Doom and Fallout names helped push the Vive further this Black Friday.

Also of note is the complete lack of mention of Microsoft’s new Windows-based VR headsets, which launched a preview build of SteamVR support in November.

All that said, it’s important to note that hardware survey results aren’t an entirely dependable way to judge sales of the Vive against the Rift. But, with just a few weeks left in the build-up to Christmas now, we’ll be very interested to see how the needle shifts when we get the first survey results of 2018.

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  • koenshaku

    I can see why after the Vive price drop. I would only consider an Oculus if they price was around $100 and even then I would give it to someone else. I just can’t imagine myself snaking USB cables on my walls or whatever elaborate setups they have going for their three sensor solutions. A couple tripods in the corners with AC adapters can disappear the same way a couple lamps in your home would.

    This is why I purchased a WMR as an alternative HMD oculus was not thought out poorly at launch and damage control has been a mess even their wireless adapter from TPcast has no audio. A patch has already been release to fix the mic on the Vive and it works perfectly.

    • Icebeat

      Do you mean the patch from OpenTPCast and the 25$ extra you need to pay?

    • RationalThought

      And I couldn’t imagine not using the touch for games or having to buy a deluxe strap for my audio. It all depends on what works for you and your home setup. The cables are a non issue for me, sit on corners of a desk and only my third goes around the wall to a stand behind my desk. Done. I would rather have way better controls and in-vr interaction then worry about cables I can’t see in my setup (or in game). To each his own. (Also it does have audio on Oculus TPcast according to hands on reports)

      • polysix

        Exactly + see my bigger post above, the guy sounds like a fanboy. I’ve had both and rift completely destroys vive in EVERY single metric (except tracking where it’s now mostly on par for most users). I sold my Vive after a month or so as it was awful and annoying to use. Rift is like gen 1.5 vs vive! And yes I can’t stand those janky vive touchpads, useless, the rift controllers + analog sticks are pure quality and open up a lot of gameplay chances and finer interaction (as does the finger tracking).

      • Crunchy005

        “having to buy a deluxe strap for my audio” – You don’t have the buy the strap to get audio, the vive does come with earbuds that have a short VR friendly cable, I payed $1.50 for a tiny 3.5mm cable to use with my PSB M4U headphones I already had and those offer superior quality to the oculus offering and awesome immersion.

        • RationalThought

          So that puts the grand cost of your setup to what….almost a thousand dollars pre Vive price drop for the Vive including your 300 dollar headset? I was referring to what came with the product. They obviously realized the on strap audio solution was a better solution which is why they added it to the Deluxe strap….which was really my point. The earbuds are not adequate, which is why you likely use your own headphones. For it’s audio solution (and comfort) to match Oculus’s solution out of the box….you need the Deluxe strap……..or you can spend an additional 300 bucks.
          If you want to do that ….fine…but for what you get out of the box and only needing another 70$ sensor for 360 tracking Rift is the best bang for your buck in my opinion but to each his own.

          • Crunchy005

            My headphone example was a way of showing the options I have, not stuck with the built in headphones, it’s also an extreme. The Vive can also support USB headsets as well that the oculus can’t. The earbuds are more than adequate otherwise.

          • RationalThought

            Perhaps, but definitely not competitive with what is offered on the other side…..for less. Taking all personal feelings and preferences out of it at the current sale price points the Oculus is the better value for what you get. Vive is more expensive, less advanced controllers, less comfortable strap and worse audio solution. It’s no different than before the rift price drop and Touch controller releasing the Vive was the best VR bang for your buck. When the Vive Knuckle controllers drop if they are affordably priced this will likely swing back to Vive again.

          • Crunchy005

            I wouldn’t actually consider the earbuds less competitive. They sound decent, and have better noise isolation than the on-ear Oculus solution(vive audio strap is on-ear as well). I found the earbuds to offer better immersion than my vive audio strap and my over-ear headphones are the best overall. I think saying the earbuds are a non-competitive solution is completely invalid. It’s mostly a subjective matter. The vive black friday deal was great, $220 worth of extras and your still just paying the price of what just the headset was before the sale, so essentially the vive headset for $380 vs. oculus at $350? You just had to buy the 2 games and audio strap with it. Oculud $350 + 2 $60 games + 1 extra camera for room scale = $530 a $70 difference, which will be filed in with a PCIe USB 3.0 card for the needed bandwidth for the cameras, USB extension cables, stand for at least 1 camera if the other two are on a desk. Ya, it seems like you just don’t get everything with the oculus to begin with…

            There is An article from oculus of the extras you will probably need, the 4 controller USB 3.0 card they list and recommend is $123

          • mirak

            The lesser product always have to lower it’s price to survive.

    • polysix

      I’ve had both, seriously, the vive is awful next to the rift. Controls are worse, comfort is worse, screens are worse, lenses are worse, sound/headphones are worse, front end software/ease of use is worse. You sound like an ill informed buyer to think the rift is worth less than vive, esp if buying WMR ‘as an alternative’ you poor poor man. WMR is absolutley rock bottom, bad screens, bad tracking, tacky controls.

      Rift IS the defacto winner of Gen 1 from an ergonomics, controls and fit and finish pov. You lost out big time. I’ve had Dk2, Vive, PSVR and Rift and RIFT is like gen 1.5 next to them all.

      • Crunchy005

        “Controls are worse” – Subjective, but I think everyone agrees the oculus touch is the better controller at the moment(although lack of future upgrades for oculus is sad)
        comfort is worse” – Completely subjective and not everyone agrees the rift is more comfortable do to the smaller/thinner rim of foam they use
        “screens are worse” – Literally the same screens in both the rift and vive
        “lenses are worse” – Subjective here both headsets suffer from screen door effect and godrays
        “sound/headphones are worse” – Umm sorry but your built in headphones on your rift are not better than the $300 PSB headphones I use with my vive, I like having the choice of the headphones I use.
        “front end software/ease of use is worse” – Umm Oculus home is not a good piece of software in anyway. Their navigation is terrible, their website design is good but UI needs some work. Vive works perfectly well with steam and with revive it works with all the oculus games as well. To bad rift has to wait until a game is specifically built for it to play the game. A game releases for rift and vive also gets it. lol.

        Don’t listen to the shill up there. He clearly hasn’t owned either headset, just shills for rift.

    • mirak

      Ho they fixed the mic, nice.
      This should have been a news on uploadvr xD

      But did they fix the camera of the headset ?

  • David Dewis

    The only issue i have with basing this around a Steam survey is whether the results may be skewed by Rift owners not realising they can use Steam and sticking to Oculus Home. There are still many people on forums that don’t seem to realise that the rift works with Steam and Many games that do not state they support rift, still work with it. I bet a good percentage of Oculus owners have never used Steam VR.

    • Bundy

      Yup, I’m one of them.

      • David Dewis

        As in you never use steam or you weren’t aware you could use Steam VR? Oculus Rift works with all openVR titles. Most of steam’s VR games are built using OpenVR

        • Bundy

          I don’t use SteamVR. I use Steam for general gaming. I use Oculus Home for Rift games. I know the Rift works in SteamVR, there’s just no specific games there that make me feel like I need it.

          • David Dewis

            Oh you are missing out. Lol. Payday 2 VR is eating a lot of my time atm. OnwardVR is a great shooter. I have more games on steam then I have on oculus probably.

          • Bundy

            I can get onward on the oculus store. And I was never a fan of payday

          • David Dewis

            I forgot Onward was on Home now. Mass exodus is a great game to play with friends with 1 in VR and the other using the screen. Fallout 4 and L.A. Noire are launching within next couple of weeks too. I’m also testing an Alpha build of a game called Stand Out which is essentially PUBG in VR.

          • Bundy

            I’m not as pumped about FO4 and L.A. Noire. FO4 didn’t impress me much and I don’t think having it in VR will change my mind, especially if Rift support will be limited and controller angles all wrong. L.A. Noire I enjoyed, but looks like this is going to be rather short.

          • koenshaku

            Sounds like you aren’t very impressed with VR in general.

          • Jukka Muhonen

            I wasnt fan of payday before VR. it was crappy at 2D

          • Thoemse

            Why do you do that? You bind yourself to oculus. It doesn’t look like they will realease a Gen 2 device anytime soon. If a new, better HMD hits the market you wont be able to play the games in your oculus home library. If you had the same games in Steam you could without any drawbacks.

            I am no oculus hater. I just don’t see why people rather buy a game in a store that is compatibly with one headset only instead of a store that works with them all.

          • Bundy

            This isn’t something I intend to upgrade often. I’m not one of those guys who builds a new PC every 2 years. Plus, with the Oculus exclusives I didn’t want to fragment my VR game library.

    • Caven

      The Rift only has to be plugged in for the Steam Hardware Survey to detect it. SteamVR doesn’t need to be running, and the Oculus software doesn’t need to be installed either.

      • David Dewis

        I don’t leave my Rift plugged in due to the auto Home launcher. But I get your point.

      • d0x360

        That’s not exactly true. In order for the Oculus to be detected by steam it has to be used by steam. Just being plugged in doesn’t send valve the info otherwise they would be collecting information on every device ever plugged in. It has to be actively used by the steam runtime

        • Caven

          The item does not have to be actively used by the Steam runtime–it just has to be plugged in at the time the survey is taken.

          I tested this myself by connecting an Oculus Rift to a Surface Pro 3. It’s a system that absolutely cannot run a Rift in VR. Disregarding the woefully lacking GPU and lack of an HDMI port, it only has one USB 3.0 port, so I couldn’t even connect the sensors for the test. Then, since the “official” Steam Hardware Survey can’t be triggered manually, I launched the DOTA 2 and Counterstrike hardware surveys, which are just the Steam Hardware Survey tied to the use of those two games.

          As long as the Rift was plugged in, the surveys were able to detect it and report it as an Oculus Rift–all without SteamVR or the Oculus software. It’s not even necessary for the Rift to be in a usable configuration for it to be recognized by the survey.

          I’d have to hunt for it but I even pasted the results of one of the surveys into a different post on this same topic.

          • d0x360

            If that’s the case then they changed it not that long ago because it never used to report hardware unless it explicitly used it. That’s quite the privacy concern. Who knows what information steam is collecting guess its time to break out Wireshark and a good old fashion hex editor.

            It’s either that or steam is checking the VR rumetime against every game regardless of whether it’s vr or not. That way they can support VR modes that are in games but aren’t explicit.

          • Joshua Labonte

            You’re concerned with what info steam is collecting but you use oculus home? Really? You know oculus is owned by facebook right? I guarantee their mining every possible bit of data they can.

          • Bundy

            I’m not concerned about that. What can they really get from Oculus usage? Considering they already have all the random thoughts in your head from facebook itself. It’s like people freaking out that Windows 10 is telling Microsoft what programs we run, while their Android phone quite literally tracks every single thing they do.

  • Jeff Schmidt

    If any of the 3 main PC vr headsets sold the most I could see the WMR selling the best since most were $250 or so around black friday. Then the Rift with the $350 price discount. The Vive with the included strap and fallout 4 would be my guess for last since the strap should be included with the Vive.

    • nipple_pinchy

      I got my Odyssey for $450 and I love it.

    • d0x360

      Do all the WMR HMD’S come with the motion controllers?

      Also consider some of the WMR HMD’s might be lower quality screen wise than Oculus and Vive.

      I’m waiting to see what revisions Oculus and valve/HTC make to their systems.

      Some guy invented a way to completely remove the screen door effect no matter what resolution the displays are. I’m hoping the major players license the tech from him.

  • d0x360

    Games will sell hardware more times than not. That’s why Nvidia bundles games every time there is an uptick in AMD gpu sales. Plus at percentages that close you might as well call it 50/50. There are also odd people who don’t even use steam. I have a friend who bought a PC just so he could play VR. Then he bought an Oculus and has never installed steam.

    50/50

    Does it matter anyways? These are 1st Gen HMD’s and still expensive even with sales when you also consider alot of people need other upgrades. It won’t be till the end of 2019 before you can declare a “winner” and even then they both run each other’s games so it doesn’t matter

    • Bundy

      I hope by 2019 we’ll be using OpenXR or something similar as the API and all this “winner” and “loser” nonsense will be ancient history.

      A man can dream.

      • d0x360

        There will always be at least a couple companies making HMD’s. Unless the industry dies and even if it does Oculus will be around. Facebook paid too much money for it to let it fail. They will iterate until it’s 4k quality, no wires, no tracking sensors. Valve will probably keep going too. VR is used quite a bit in the private sector now so I doubt either will go anywhere anytime soon but there is going to be a ton of competition for at least the next couple years which is a good thing. It’s not like 3dtv where nobody really cares.

        • mirak

          3dtv is just a feature of an existing product., not a whole new product.
          This doesn’t compare.

          • d0x360

            I know…that’s what we were talking about.

            Wow

          • mirak

            No you were not, otherwise I would not have needed to had the reasons why it’s different.

          • d0x360

            Yes we were, check the entire thread.

          • mirak

            Nope.

            But I agree , there is no way VR is disappearing.
            I can’t see myself saying in a few year that it was so awesome to play Serious Sam in VR and that now we can’t.
            That’s just impossible, there is no comming back from that.

          • d0x360

            Let’s call it a misunderstanding then because 3dtv was briefly mentioned and it’s just implied it’s a feature on some tv’s.

            I think I played a vr serious sam in steam that says it’s a platform for future games but Oculus Home lists serious sam the last hope which looks great but I’m not sure if its included in what i got on steam. Either way it was pretty awesome lol. I’m was worried it would be too hard because that series just is brutal with the number of enemies. I’ll look into it today and if I don’t have last hope I’ll buy it.

            Yesterday I bought From Other Suns (which is awesome) and Karnage Chronicles which I only got to play about 15 min of but it looks really cool

            I also bought 4 games on steam…I can’t remember the names lol (checks email) ok it was Eternity Warrior VR which was fun, unknightly which has massive potential but it has control issues although it’s still early access and finally Zomday which was bundled with Eternity Warriors and on sale

            I love VR, especially free locomotive using the Oculus analog sticks. I actually can’t wait to play some more Karnage Chronicles today. Oh I also grabbed gun heart on oculus home.

            There are some good sales going on. Although I think I spent like $60 for 7 games. Eternity Warriors (steam) I will probably return until they fix controls but the idea is amazing and despite my return it’s something I suggest any VR fan to play because it might not bother everyone. I put it on my wishlist so I can check back on it from time to time

          • mirak

            I was afraid it would be too dumb. I never played it before, but I had one copy of ss3 non vr, that I got in a sale one year ago, so I tried it. The begining was not interesting until the first shouting guys came running at me. Haaaaaaa kaboum ! That was hilarious and I loved it, so I bought the croteam VR pack for 60€
            I finished the first one. Yes it’s mad, but mindless blasting is so perfect for VR.

            I don’t buy games on Oculus store because of the lack of support guarantees for the Vive.

          • d0x360

            Revive works on everything from the oculus store. They aren’t blocking anything at this point. The only issue you could potentially run into is controller issues because home games usually don’t use open vr (if it’s a game made by Oculus themselves) but in the rare case that happens oculus now allows returns.

            I also was very meh from the start of ss3. The 1st level is good awful but it does get better.

            I’ll definitely be checking the steam SS games I have and if I don’t have last hope I’ll probably grab it today.

            Have you tried Alien Isolation or Doom 3 BFG in VR? It definitely makes them both better and the mods are simple to install

          • mirak

            Yes they are not blocking, but Bethesda didn’t block Rift either for Doom VFR. Like Aeon, it’s just not supported yet.
            People knew that rift was not supported, because no rift logo was on the store page, but they still felt frustrated about it.
            I just don’t want to put myself in that potential situation with Revive.

            I tried Doom 3 BFG quite sometime ago now and bought an official copy for the occasion, I managed to finish the first level, but got sick. Maybe it’s better now.
            I have have Alien Isolation but never played it yet, so I will for sure play it in VR straight away someday. When I am ready to endure scare xD

          • d0x360

            Actually the issue with DoomVFR was on purpose. Bethesda had some code with an error in the mesh that only crashes Oculus Rift’s runtime service which restarts itself automatically immediately after crashing.

            After the logo screens run and before the menu loads the game loaded a mesh and poof the rift runtime crashes.

            Valve likely not wanting to deal with 50% of their VR users trying to return a game they know will be popular, it’s been on the top seller list since release which is amazing for a VR game.

            Anyways Valve quickly noticed this and in the beta branch they basically took the code and removed the mesh and simple as that there was no crash. Keep in mind this screen with the mesh was only on screen for a few milliseconds right before it went from logos to menu.

            The game was made using OVR so it should automatically support anything that also supports OVR like the rift, Vive Windows HMD’S etc. It’s possible that while using OVR to support only specific controllers BUT it wouldn’t cause a crash to load it with an unsupported one.

            Matter or fact the Windows Mixed Reality HMD’S and controllers had zero issues with the game and they weren’t “compatible” or listed either.

            It was just a jerk move especially because they were punishing their customers for something they couldn’t control. I’m sure it was only going to be a temporary thing but then as we said valve went and fixed it within a couple hours of release.

            I said screw it and refunded anyways then I went and played Doom BFG Edition in VR with a amazing mod that works perfectly. It’s likely the mod is just enabling things Carmack had already done since originally the point of the game was it’s VR support that just vanished before release but most of the code was still there it just needed to be a activated.

          • mirak

            The fact it works on windows vr headsets is not a proof.
            Google Maps was not available at first on Rift, and Aeon is not either.

  • RationalThought

    This is a poor metric. I understand it is the only one but one simply has to concede that a large number of Oculus users are simply going to use the Oculus platform only. It wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest they substantially outnumber the amount of sold Vive’s if on VIVE’s platform they are only 3.5 percent behind….or at the least have the clear lead in overall sales.

    • Ståhej

      It’s quite a stretch to say that the amount of rift users not using steam is even a fraction of the total rift owners. Most HMD owners are long time gamers and enthusiast and most (everyone) have steam

      • RationalThought

        I would say that would have been the case PRE-SALE…..not since they caught up. If the numbers of Vive and Oculus that are connected when Steam is running is almost equal, it would be illogical to assume there isn’t a percentage of Oculus Rifts connected to PC’s that don’t run Steam. Everyone doesn’t use Steam……They may have it installed and use it for some games or they may not have their Oculus connected when they are using Steam. It even may be a small number but when we are talking 46 to 48 percent….a small number is all it takes. The one thing we know is it ISN’T zero and that’s why it’s a poor metric.

  • Jim Bond

    Meanwhile, because of their Facebook embargo, China takes the Vive over Rift by near unanimous results. And since the Chinese VR market is the largest in the world, all I can say is ‘Oculus who?’ LOL!

    • Bundy

      Sorry bro, reddit is over that way if you wanna fanboi out. We generally don’t care over here.

      • Jim Bond

        “We”? As in the royal we, or just fact deniers in general? lol. Now go bury your head in some virtual sand…if your tracking can take it.

        • Bundy

          haha, omg. fanboi is getting ANGRY!!!!! RAWR!!!!

    • ph34rl3ssL34d3r

      You’re partially right, but it doesn’t have anything to do with Facebook.
      HTC looks to be focusing on China with a new game center deal struck with Intel, and VR streaming to roll out in the next couple months in China exclusively (say goodbye to prohibitive PC costs).
      They think that North America is being left behind, and don’t seem to care.

  • polysix

    well I pity those owners, obviously bought into the false hype of Vive ‘being better’ cos more expensive. I sold my vive a long time back it was pretty shitty all round except for tracking. Rift has been so much better, controls, comfort, screen clarity, sde, software…

    Why anyone would buy vive over rift at this stage in the game is anyone’s guess, but they must be very ill-informed.

    • Crunchy005

      On the topic of screen clarity the two headsets have the same screens, SDE, and the rift software is not better than steam, lol. Maybe better than the vive home software, but no one uses that. Yes, I have used the rift software as I play some rift games…thank you revive. Ya, the controllers are better, but the cameras are not an ideal tracking system in any way. Comfort is subjective, even before the audio strap the vive was not uncomfortable at all(once you figured out the strap). I have asked multiple people at demo areas who have tried both vive and rift and had several say the vive was more comfortable, but others say rift. There is no objective measures of comfort for the rift over the vive.

    • ph34rl3ssL34d3r

      I think there are a lot of pros and cons for both.
      I really wanted the Vive after a game jam I participated in made something truly cool.
      I opted for the Rift ultimately because of the Black Friday price, as most people likely did.
      Secondary would be access to putting my next game on the 2 biggest VR marketplaces for PC; Steam and Oculus store.
      Of course the best would be PSVR, but there are barriers to entry for small-time indies like me (published a game while being a registered business for 2 years to be eligible for a dev kit).
      I bought PSVR early this year and like it, but at the same time the Touch controls make me wonder why anyone serious about VR gaming would use PSVR.
      Here’s looking to Gen2 in 2018! I’m getting ready early 😉

  • ph34rl3ssL34d3r

    Bought my Rift during Black Friday and just set it up today.
    I can’t imagine why anyone would choose the Vive over Rift. It was double the price.
    I doubt this survey is relevant to Black Friday. Better to wait til the next survey for a more accurate result.

    • Crunchy005

      Well the vive hasn’t always been that way. The rift used to cost a lot more. The vive bundle was $600, but included $120 in games, and $100 audio strap. Where as all you got was the headset. With the vive bundle you basically got the headset for $380 + 2 games + the audio strap. The rift to get full room-scale parity was $410 with the extra camera that is required. On top of that my room would never work with the rift cameras and I would not be able to do full room scale. The vive lighthouses are more versatile.

      • ph34rl3ssL34d3r

        That’s true about past pricing.
        Been following both for a while, and opted for PSVR earlier this year before buying Oculus now because of the prices.
        Managed to get room-scale in my small games room set up with just the 2 sensors included.
        Works pretty good for the 3 games/apps I’ve tried so far.

  • Karris Tmpk

    I bought the Rift at Best Buy during BF sale and it didn’t work. The HDMI cable connector had broken/missing pins and I thought the over all build quality was poor. Returned it and got the Vive at the Microsoft store. Set-up was easy and works awesome. Build quality and design was much better than the the Rift. Even though the Vive is more money, I’m sure it will outlast the Rift, especially when it comes to cords. I wonder if others had the same problem with the Rift. As far as the article goes, I always thought Steam was more Vive friendly.