Oculus Rift The ‘Most Popular’ VR Headset On Steam In December, Windows VR Debuts

by Jamie Feltham • January 2nd, 2018

After a months’ break, the gap between the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive narrowed once more in the latest Steam Hardware Survey results.

The Hardware Survey is an optional feature that Steam users take part in that detects what VR headsets they’re using among other features. November’s results saw the gap between the leading Vive and the close-second Rift widen just a little with just over 3% between them. In December’s results, though, things are a little narrower; Vive has 47.26% of total VR usage while Rift at 46.14%, putting just over a percent between the two.

But this shift might not be caused by the result of Rift selling more units than Vive in December; it might be because of a new challenger. December is the first month that we’ve seen Microsoft’s Windows-based ‘Mixed Reality’ VR headsets join the survey as their own segment. The headsets, which include devices from Dell, Samsung, HP, Acer and Lenovo, only occupy 4.35% of the total VR usage, though. Microsoft and Valve released a preview of SteamVR support on these devices late last year.

Funnily enough, the Windows headsets don’t even double the amount of Oculus Rift DK2 units still in use on Steam (2.25%). We’ll be interested to see how they grow in 2018.

Getting back to the Rift/Vive story, Valve actually lists Rift as the most popular VR headset for December, despite the overall usage being higher on Vive. This is the first time Rift has claimed the title, though we’re not exactly sure what constitutes the most popular VR headset, though the survey notes it was in the lead by 0.17%. We’ve reached out to Valve to ask after what this really means.

Overall, though, Vive managed to cling to its lead in 2017. Now we’re at the start of a new year with plenty of new developments ahead of us; are things set for a dramatic shake-up?

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  • yeah I think WMR will take the lead in 2018. Reasons: 1) Many hardware options at different price points, 2) lower PC requirements

    • MasterElwood

      Hahahahah. No.

      • German Turkish

        Wow this argument

      • hahaha why

        • MasterElwood

          Oculus is apple
          Steam is Android
          Windows MR is Windows mobile

          They are making the SAME mistakes they did with mobile:

          1. They are late to the game – and
          2. They are not controlling everything – but they are also not completely open. They are something wishi washi in the middle. This did not work in mobile. This is NOT going to work here.

          • silly comparison. WMR RUNS STEAM GAMES

          • MasterElwood

            And at the end WM was trying to run Android apps 🙂

          • nope, I’m a Windows (and Windows 10 Mobile) developer. That was never the case. WM could never run Android apps. It’s just that Microsoft tried to make it easy for developers to PORT Android apps to WM. That’s not the same as running Android apps.
            On the other hand WMR can run unmodified SteamVR games. As in right now.

    • The Shewolf

      the rift is only roughly 50 dollars more than the cheapest of the windows mr headsets on the market and it’s infinitely better, so why would anyone go for something lesser?

      • German Turkish

        wmr is the best headset for now, u have outdoor tracking and the best display resulotion. The samsung odyssey wmr have the best fov as all, and fov is the most important features

        • Jens Nilsson

          It’s not even sold in most parts of the world.

        • Radiation

          Odyssey is USA only and more expensive than Rift or the others.

        • Wrinkly

          You ignore the fact that with WMR you have to keep looking at your hands to play games properly. Why would you handicap your self to play games?

          As for FOV, pre order a Pimax and a couple of Titan Vs, if you want high FOV.

          As for outdoor tracking, great, if a bloody nose and an expensive insurance claim is your thing, as you are robbed of your new toy.

          • German Turkish

            I check up a lot of reviews and there r no problems with the tracking at all ( camera view or not ), it works great at all. What’s ur problem with outdoor tracking ? U talk about insurance, Man U don’t need a sensor setup anymore, just plug in the hdmi and start playing. Love it or hate it , it is the better technology. And yes iam a rift user

          • OkinKun

            Having tracking cameras will always provide a more robust tracking result, than the inside-out tracking WMR uses.. You’d never be able to play intense competitive games like Echo Arena, with WMR. Games like Onward might not work well, since you’re frequently grabbing UI/tools attached to your body in areas outside of the WMR camera’s view.

            And for VR right now, you have to tether it to a PC anyway, and most powerful-enough PCs don’t get moved around much or taken outside. lol It’s usually gonna be setup and left in that place with the PC.. Inside-out tracking is relatively useless for a WIRED headset..
            Basically, technology wise, a room VR setup with external cameras is probably always going to be CAPABLE of providing better tracking, as the technologies advance together, than a mobile solution. Until we get wireless, there’s not much advantage with what WMR is doing.

          • koenshaku

            I think people said the same thing about grabbing arrows off your back. It works perfectly, on occasion you will lose your controllers and it can be annoying, but you have to ask yourself is it worth losing your sensors being snaked along your room. For my use it is because I can just take it to a party with a laptop or just have it sit in my bedroom and not worry sensor ranges or the extra clutter. I’m not saying it is infinitely better than rift and vive, but going the resolution does start to make my vive look dated going back to it in my living room. Though my wireless vive does still give me the best player experience I think WMR is more consumer friendly and you can always find them on amazon and ebay way south of $300 and sometimes south of $200.

          • Crunchy005

            Losing your hands would completely ruin a lot of games. The limited hand tracking area would make some games unplayable. Inside-out tracking is good to have, but blind spots are not. WMR is great for the price, but I wouldn’t put it into the same class as the vive and rift.

          • koenshaku

            Say what you will, I’m saying as someone who owns both it is very playable and the resolution has me using it in games like fallout 4 instead of my vive. I figured i’d be using it as a more windows integrated experience and less for games, but found that it was great for both and I think anyone that buys one should be more than happy with it.
            If I played competitive multiplayer games I would most definitely switch back to my vive. I don’t play any of them like onward which I don’t own, I would get your point you would want the worry free gameplay it’s why I buy a gamer mouse, but if you’re playing competitive games like those rec room it is perfectly fine. The thing has it’s pros and cons I ultimately think they balance out in the end though. The Samsung Odyssey my brother purchased and I would say it was the better HMD overall, well if you can find a cable extender for it.

          • Crunchy005

            I agree it can work fine for a lot of games. I myself enjoy online multiplayer games, the limits of WMR headsets makes those less playable, which is why I would put it into a different class of VR than the Vive. Ultimately it depends on the person buying the headset and what they need/want. I’m not saying the WMR headsets are in anyway bad, the better resolution screens alone is nice, but in terms of competitive games the WMR can’t compete, similar to PSVR, while good it has limitations that the vive and rift don’t.

          • koenshaku

            They have their pros and cons, depending of how you play tracking may not be a hindrance just as depending on your distance in a multiplayer game pixel density may not be a hindrance on who you’re trying to shoot. That is why I play fallout on WMR I can snipe better as well as the game obviously looking sharper overall.

          • OkinKun

            It’s simply not reliable enough for any kind of competitive play. And at it’s current price it’s almost the cost of a full Rift setup anyway, so it’s not worth it, might as well pay a little more and get a far better experience.

          • koenshaku

            Well I do well with it in the few competitive games I play, ping pong, rec room and a couple others. I think you would have to use it to actually have an opinion with some merit. Besides I would buy it over the rift even if the price was the same, because I wanted a Secondary VR HMD that was easily portable go figure. I think most would be happy with it as a primary HMD also though.

          • Wrinkly

            Then check up on some more reviews. There is a reason why MS didn’t call it VR.

            If you are walking around while blind folded and carrying 2k+ worth of kit, you are going to lose it.

            You don’t need sensor setup because it has sensors in the HMD. VR for idiots that find plugging in a cable too challenging.

          • “with WMR you have to keep looking at your hands to play games properly”
            What? Dude, no, that is totally not the case!!

          • Wrinkly

            ‘Dude’ don’t post about something before learning how it works.

        • OkinKun

          It’s not real “outdoor tracking”.. They just have basic inside-out tracking, but still need to be attached to a PC.. And there are still issues with WMR tracking, like the view range of the controllers.. Wait for Oculus Santa Cruz if you want a large outside space tracked, it’s properly wireless/standalone. Also, VR and outside don’t mix, sunlight will fry your screens instantly.
          The ONLY thing that may be considered “better” about the MR headsets, is one of them has a slightly better resolution screen. Most the other important VR related aspects aren’t as good as Rift or Vive.. They just aren’t designed as good as the Rift, and some parts are kinda cheap and breakable like those controller hoops.
          The worst thing about WMR, is it’s software platform is absolutely junk.. All the good games will be on Rift first anyway.

      • infinitely better than the Samsung Odyssey? Surely you’re kidding

        • koenshaku

          I would say the odyssey is the best overall HMD on the market now and I have tried them all. Rift and Vive are due for a refresh

          • German Turkish

            Agree, hope for a refresh with I-outside tracking, 4K Display but the most important feature is a better much better FOV.

          • mirak

            I can’t see in a near future external peripherals doing inside out tracking.
            So it will limit all things like full body tracking, integration of external peripherals for quite sometime.

            A product should need to be able to do both to cover all use cases.

      • 50 dollar difference? The WMR headsets were sold on the holidays for as low as 199$

        • Crunchy005

          Outside of sales pricing, it’s a $50 difference.

      • 12Danny123

        The reason why Windows MR will take the lead is simply because of Monopoly and PC OEMS.

    • polysix

      wrong

  • Dr Shrapnel

    I don’t see WMR devices taking off unless someone wants a budget option. If you’re going to jump into VR then I think it’s best to go with a product that offers better tracking capabilities.

    • Jon Jackson

      That’s silly. The WMR HMD’s are the most forward looking headsets you can get today. They’re more comfortable than either the Vive or the Rift, have higher res screens and I/O tracking. The optics aren’t quite as nice and they have some caveats to tracking, but most things “just work”. They’re also a heck of a lot easier to use and as WMR for Steam evolves (remember it’s beta now) it’ll only get better. I have both the Rift and the Lenovo WMR HMD and if I’d bought the Lenovo first, I wouldn’t waste my money on the Rift.

      • Gonzalo Novoa

        Well, that’s your opinion but I strongly disagree. I/O tracking might be the future but right now I’d much rather have the current tracking system of the Rift than a minor system. Hopefully in the future there will be no need for external sensors, that will be great but right now we’re not quite there yet.
        I don’t understand why you mean about “a heck of a lot easier to use”. What problems do you have using the rift? just put the headset on, choose your game and play, that’s it.
        I don’t honestly see the windows headsets going nowhere but I might be wrong, of course.

        • Jon Jackson

          It’s easier because you don’t have to deal with sensors. I can use it standing in my play area or sit down at my desk and play a sim without having to deal with sensors. You’re looking at it from a “what’s the absolute best” perspective and I agree, the Rift/Vive are “the best” right now, but the differences are negligible, especially with the Samsung. I have several friends who picked up WMR headsets during the sale and they’re playing the same things in VR that I play and enjoying it just as much. It may not be “the best”, but you’d have a hard time convincing them that they’re missing out and this is just the first run of WMR HMD’s on the market.

          The fact that they went from nothing to 4% on this list in a month should be more than enough to convince you that they are definitely going to be a part of the future of VR and to be perfectly honest you’d better hope they are. VR still needs all the help it can get. The more people supporting it with good hardware and software the better off the entire industry is. WMR “going nowhere” would be bad for everyone…

          • Gonzalo Novoa

            Yeah, well, I do agree on that, the more the better. I hope they won’t fail, it’s good to have different options as long they all can be used to play the same games. If tomorrow a Windows headset has a better fov, resolution and the same tracking as I have on my Rift, have no doubt that I would buy one.
            I haven’t tried it so I can’t really have an opinion on the samsung headset. By the way, I take it for granted that you can play Steam games but not Oculus ones, right? I mean, If I have games from the oculus store will I ever be able to play those on a different headset?

          • Crunchy005

            Seems like it. Revive works for WMR and the vive. oculus is the most limited in games I feel. Although the idea that PC games are somewhat limited to one headset is an issue. This is why I’m glad the vive can use openVR(steamVR) directly.

          • jfr

            “The Rift is most limited”? “…the vive can use openVR(steamVR) directly”???

            You may not like Oculus’ business practices (I’m not a big fan either), but you got it backwards. The Rift is the least limited since out of the box it can use both the Rift market place, and OpenVR (which works seamlessly with all main VR headsets and not just the Vive).

          • Crunchy005

            The oculus runs in it’s own API and only works with OpenVR because Oculus allows it. I see a lot of games in steam that don’t even support the rift, and revive allows the vive to work with rift games, again because oculus allows it. The steam store is the bigger of the two, and I expect newer VR headsets to continue using OpenVR while the games bought on the Oculus store won’t necessarily work. So when you upgrade to something that’s not the rift you lose out on all those games, unless something like revive is still working.

          • jfr

            I have a Rift and know of no open VR games besides the Bethesda games (because they are being dicks to Rift users who have nothing to do with their legal feud) that don’t work on the Rift. It is an openVR headset as much as the Vive or Odyssey, period.

            Any Steam game that only works on the Vive wouldn’t really be *open*VR by definition, and no sane developer would go out of their way to single out the Rift for exclusion, while supporting everyone else.

            There’s also no way Oculus would ever block openVR access as that would be commercial suicide.

            There’s nothing limited about the Rift.

          • koenshaku

            That’s a good question, I don’t know if revive works for it or not. That is the reason I don’t buy oculus store games though I try to buy from open platforms. Like if a game is on GOG i’ll buy that before steam, if it is on steam i’ll buy that before windows store etc. Oculus store could disappear one day like so many other wimdows live market places in the past steam has a solid reputation.
            Revive may work with it though since it works through steamvr you would have to check.

          • Crunchy005

            Revive does work apparently. Can’t post links on this site so I can’t point you to the information directly. Google around and there are tutorials on how to use revive with WMR. Revive works as an interface betweem oculus api and openVR(steamVR) so the WMR headsets work.

      • Morey Ladini

        I tried out a Levono demo, and I’m glad for my Rift. Yeah, sharper screen – but herky-jerky movement. It will degrade genuine VR>

      • polysix

        LOL do your research better. WMR are flawed. Bad screens, bad tracking, woeful quality (build and controls). No. That is NOT what VR needs.

        Oculus Rift remains the ONLY shining example of ‘all round’ quality in VR GEN1. WMR needs to improve drastically and Vive at least has good tracking (sadly the rest is crappy – sold mine and kept rift)

        • mirak

          Tried the rift and the image was slightly better than the vive through Lucky’s tales, but the field of view was smaller, I had blackborders issues, it felt like was looking inside a box, and the rift wasn’t feeling comfortable on my face.

      • STZ .

        I own both the Samsung Odyssey and the Vive. The Samsung has a nice screen for sure… but the trade offs are not worth it. For basic hand forward VR stuff, the WMR HMD is ok(It looks great, except for serious warping on the edges).. but overall user experience and proper tracking, the Vive is vastly superior. The WMR HMD also has to contend with the stupid MS decisions to force you to launch the Windows Mixed Reality portal(God damn Cliff house). That should be an option, but not a requirement. Eventually the WMR software will be ok.. but for now it is buggy, and the controllers are just not ergonomic, especially since the thumbsticks don’t work outside of the MS store (no steam VR support). The controllers are kinda glitchy (samsung versions are worse than the other WMR devices, according to reddit), they lose tracking when your hands are too close to your face, or if you have your hands to your side and look left or right.

        A good example of how the WMR HMD tracking is just not polished is when you put on your headset and look for the controllers.. They might show up correctly… or more likely.. there will be one where it should be and the other upside down(in VR) spinning around or appear to be ten feet away clipped though the wall of my house. **I have tried all the MS fixes, external BT dongle on an extender etc.

        The samsung also feels like it cost less than the Vive.. it is overall kinda cheap( at the price I get it), the real issue is the fitment of the HMD, the headphones just don;t come down far enough to fit on my ears..

        It is not a bad HMD… just that its not on the same level as the Vive

    • Wrinkly

      There is plenty of ignorant people in this world. Of course it will sell. And just as PC gaming was dumbed down by console, VR gaming will be dumbed down due to MR restrictions.

      IMO Microsoft’s MR is simply XBox VR to compete with PSVR. Beta tested by PC gamers while they get some XBox games together. Look at the morons stating it’s selling point is an easier setup, the same morons who struggle with light switches, door handles, etc.

  • daveinpublic

    That’s especially impressive, because oculus is winning on a competitors survey. I don’t know why so many people use steams survey as a factual statistics. Their survey could equally mean that steam games are worst quality then oculus home games. this is simply a steam computer check, the only people who are listed are those with steam accounts. If you’re on oculus rift, and don’t need to access steam for the month, because the games aren’t as good, then steam Doesn’t count you in their survey. Why is this marketing material continually included in VR journalism without exclamation? At least give people a chance to know what they’re reading.

    • mirak

      Or you can try to explain why the rift doesn’t sell much much more even if it’s significantly cheaper than the Vive.

      There is little chances people run steam only when they need it. Because if you do that you might have to always have to wait for downloads update before playing.

      • daveinpublic

        Why would I try to explain a small lead from an inaccurate survey? If the numbers provided are inaccurate, than they could be very inaccurate or a little inaccurate, no way of knowing. So, Oculus Rift is beating Vive in Steam’s own survey. And, if Steam is losing Oculus customers because of poor quality games, which is commented on across this site and others, that number only grows from their. The question now is only, how much?

        • mirak

          Only the sum of dk1+dk2+cv1 is beating the Vive.
          Not the CV1.
          If cv1 was beating the Vive you would see a better % in the graph.

          • daveinpublic

            You are very correct, but we’re both basing our numbers on this inaccurate survey.

          • mirak

            Accurate enough to observe that the Rift needed to drop it’s price like crazy to match the Vive sales and just couldn’t compete at the same price.

        • mirak

          Oculus as won customer because they discounted the Rift to not be crushed by the Vive and not let to much space to windows vr.

  • rabs

    > We’ve reached out to Valve to ask after what this really means.

    Looks like a bug, usually it’s another and more detailed view of the data.
    In the case to VR HMD there isn’t more detail, so it’s only overall percentages of the same records.
    It seems they put WMR results on Rift line:
    – WMR have 0%, should be ~0.02%
    – Rift have 0.17%, should be ~0.15%

    Anyway, it doesn’t really matter much. 0.34% of surveyed users had a VR HMD connected. Still not that much…

  • Jason Hoff

    I just bought a Rift 2 weeks ago. The bundle was on sale for $350 at Best Buy.