If you read mainstream news coverage of PC VR, you might get the impression that the ecosystem is “dying”- or even “dead”, but that’s not what the data tells us at all.
PC VR headset companies do not currently release sales figures but there is still some data to work with. Valve’s Steam store, the most popular store on PC, conducts a monthly ‘Hardware Survey’ .
This survey is offered to a random sample of Steam users each month, who must accept to opt in. It scans the components of the user’s PC, as well as any connected peripherals. Helpfully, this includes connected PC VR headsets.
The Steam hardware survey breaks things down into percentages, and at the beginning of 2018, VR ownership sat at just over 0.4 percent. VR isn't exactly lighting the world on fire, though compared to the beginning of the year, VR ownership has more than doubled, when looking the number of users (rather than the percentage).
To be clear, these are not absolute figures, they’re a percentage of the users surveyed in that month with a headset connected.
At UploadVR we keep a log of the VR headset data on the survey for each month. Here is how the data changed throughout 2018:
(‘Other’ includes Oculus Rift DK2 and HTC Vive Pro)
The data here is clear — PC VR has almost doubled on Steam in 2018 with 0.8% of Steam users now having a VR headset — roughly as many as run Linux.
All three major PC VR platforms have contributed to this growth. The Oculus Rift grew by 85%, the HTC Vive grew by 65%, and Windows MR headsets started the year with too few headsets to even register, but is now at 0.07.
The Sci-Fi Prediction of VR – Pygmalion’s Spectacles. Stanley G. Weinbaum, a well-known science fiction writer from the 1930s, had the vision of what Virtual Reality is and what it may become, even before the official term was coined. In his 1930s short story Pygmalion’s Spectacles, he shares the idea that a wearer of a pair of goggles can experience fictional worlds through holographics, touch, smell and taste. This truly made him a visionary in the field of virtual reality.
The HTC Vive’s growth is likely due to the $100 price cut to $499 back in March. Windows MR’s growth is also probably due to price. Microsoft and other retailers across the US discounted these headsets aggressively this year, with prices reaching as low as $149 at times.
The Oculus Rift’s growth is more difficult to explain. The headset had seasonal sales to $349, but the regular price stayed at $399 since 2017. Instead, the growth may be down to high budget exclusives such as Marvel Powers VR and Echo Combat. Another possibility is that Facebook ramped up marketing as they did with Go.
PC VR In 2019
If the TechCrunch report of a cheaper ‘Rift S’ with higher resolution & inside-out tracking and leaks of a 135° Valve headset with ‘Knuckles’ controllers are true, we expect PC VR to grow even faster in 2019.
Improvements in quality and reductions in price could convince many PC gamers on the fence to pull the trigger, and the constant increase in quality and quantity of apps & games should make their purchase more than worth it. Keep reading this year as we’ll bring you all the major news in the PC VR sphere.
Although virtual reality can be used for gaming, it is also becoming popular for other purposes such as allowing a person to feel as if they are in a virtual reality documentary.
Tagged with: 2018, htc vive, oculus rift, pc vr, steam, Windows MR