At the start of this month, we reported that the December Steam Hardware Survey seemed to be anomalous. Four weeks later, Valve has now corrected the data.
In the previous version of the data, the usage of most VR headsets had significantly decreased, which we recognized as a probable anomaly. On further inspection, the likely cause was clear: the number of Chinese users on the Hardware Survey has increased by more than any other month this year. Far more than one would expect from normal growth in the Chinese market.
The December results have now been revised. VR headsets have grown again and the massive growth of Chinese language usage no longer appears.
Facebook’s Oculus Rift S saw most of the growth, jumping +0.06% to 0.21%. That means 1 in every 500 Steam users is using the headset. The Rift S was on sale for $349 for Black Friday week, the first time it has been discounted.
The platform also saw the release of AAA titles like Asgard’s Wrath and Stormland, which could explain why the original Rift (from 2016) also saw a +0.01% increase.
It is possible that the Hardware Survey is registering Oculus Quest headsets as Rift S, since this is how SteamVR sees Quest in Link mode. However, this would only happen if the Quest was connected to the PC at the time of the survey, and some users have reported that ‘None Detected’ appears when surveyed with Link.
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.
Windows MR headsets have fallen slightly again, down to 0.09% of overall usage. 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 build in headphones) has frequently been discounted to as low as $230 over the past few months.
HTC’s Vive Cosmos finally has enough users to show up in the relative usage chart, almost four months after launching. However, it’s only at 0.41%, ever so slightly below the 0.42% of the Oculus DK2 from 2014 (a low resolution dev kit which lacks motion controllers or room scale). The small growth may be due to the headset being discounted to $600 for Black Friday.
VR is now used by 1.09% of Steam users, a return to the all-time-high of September. 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.