In January the percentage of Steam users using a VR headset jumped from 1.09% to an all time high of 1.31%, according to the Steam Hardware Survey.
Steam is the most popular digital store for PC games. Unlike Facebook’s Oculus Rift store, Valve allows developers to sell VR games for any PC VR headset. Steam automatically asks a random sample of its users to allow it to send their PC specifications and peripherals to Valve. The data for each month is publicly displayed.
UploadVR has been tracking the VR section of the survey each month. This gives us the most reliable publicly available data on the popularity of PC VR headsets.
The growth in January was mainly lead by Oculus Rift S, which added +0.11%. This is the largest monthly growth of any VR headset so far. Clearly Facebook’s headset was on many Christmas lists last year.
The distant second this month was the original Oculus Rift from 2016, which increased +0.03%. This is probably due to Rift owners selling their headset on eBay (which they may not have used in a while) in order to upgrade to a newer headset.
Valve’s high end Index headset saw +0.02%. This is impressive given the full kit is priced at $1000. But for that price, however, users get arguably the best overall VR experience available, including a 144Hz refresh rate which makes the world feel solid and object motion feel real.
HTC’s consumer replacement, Vive Cosmos, released in October and starting this month for the first time registers in the absolute usage section, starting with 0.01%. At $700, the headset seems to be stuck between the value of the Rift S and the specifications of the Valve Index. The company’s enterprise focused Vive Pro grew to 0.03%.
After months of stagnating or contracting, Microsoft’s Windows MR headsets saw some small growth, with +0.01%. However at current growth rates, it should only be a few months until the Valve Index overtakes WMR. This is remarkable, given that Samsung’s Odyssey+ (with OLED displays, lens separation adjustment, and built in headphones) has frequently been discounted to as low as $230 over the past few months. Of course, the release of a compelling new WMR headset could change the trend.
The growth of all of these headsets was very likely supercharged by the announcement of Half-Life: Alyx in November — Valve’s first “flagship” VR game and first new entry in its most popular franchise in over 12 years.