The end of 2022 marks more than a decade since the Oculus Kickstarter sparked the modern era of VR. While the space has undoubtedly grown tremendously since then, 2022 felt largely like a plateau year, with Meta standing unchallenged as the dominant player in the space—while progressing disjointedly in too many directions at once. But with new headsets, promising new content, and a looming heavyweight positioned to challenge Meta all on the horizon, 2023 could big a much bigger year for the VR space.

The 2022 Plateau

2022 wasn’t a bad year for VR by any means, but for the most part the status quo remained unchanged.

There’s no doubt that Meta has been the central pillar of the VR space in 2022, having pivoted its attention in a very public way by renaming the entire company to Meta just before the year began. The company’s Quest 2 headset has retained its position as the most popular headset on the market, even becoming the most-used headset among PC VR players, despite Meta having all but abandoned PC VR as a platform.

Despite its dominance (or perhaps because of it), Meta has continued to make very good hardware while struggling deeply with its software. Though Quest 2 is certainly more capable than similar products, the user experience is disjointed and unrefined. The Quest Pro only continued this trend; the high-end headset brings a range of impressive improvements to the hardware along with new sensing capabilities, but its new features are significantly hampered by an undercooked software offering.

Regardless of various missteps, Meta is undoubtedly doing the most to keep VR afloat right now. Quest 2 is an affordable headset that’s created a large enough market of users that developers are finding growing success on the platform. In 2022 that’s meant that many developers have begun or continued to treat Quest 2 as their highest priority platform. To that end, we saw many ports of existing VR games coming to Quest 2, and most new releases being either Quest 2 exclusive, or on Quest 2 and some other platforms.

Unfortunately Meta’s dominance has meant that much of the air in the room as been sucked away from other parts of the VR space that were once key pillars.

Despite the release of new and updated enthusiast PC VR headsets, the platform has stagnated due to the content focus shifting away from PC VR. Many of the games released this year on PC VR were designed first and foremost for Quest 2, which means many lacked the scale and polish that resonates with enthusiast PC VR users.

SEE ALSO
Creator Behind One of Quest's Best-rated Puzzle Games is Working on New Title Built Entirely Around AR

Valve’s seeming disinterest in VR ever since the release of Half-Life: Alyx back in 2020 hasn’t helped either. The company continues to sell its 2019 headset for the same price that it was charging on day one, with no official confirmation that it has plans to do anything major in the VR space (hardware or software) in the near future. Sony’s PSVR1, meanwhile, has largely lost any remaining relevance since the announcement of the upcoming PSVR 2.

On the Horizon for 2023

But there’s lots of interesting things on the horizon for VR in 2023. Crucially we may see some real competition for Meta from several different angles, which is sorely needed to keep the company (and the industry at large) on a steady course toward making VR a more valuable platform in order to increase mainstream viability.

First Up

The biggest near-term event for the VR industry in 2023 will be the launch of PSVR 2 in February. Although Sony has technically continued selling its original PSVR headset over the years, it’s been on the market for more than six years now—and gained ‘last-gen’ status well before that.

Given all that time between—and that the company isn’t bringing its exclusive VR content forward to the new headset—the upcoming launch of PSVR 2 feels like a re-entrance into the VR market for Sony rather than a continuation. But now that the company has made the commitment, they’ll likely put strong support behind the headset for at least a few years.

Importantly, as a console maker, Sony knows well that ‘content is king’, and we can expect to see a new slate of quality VR content funded by the company, some of which could make it onto other headsets. Sony’s original PSVR is still home to some of the best exclusive VR games in the industry, made by its own first-party studios; at a minimum it would be nice to see those top titles updated and improved for PSVR 2, and better yet it would be great to see Sony setting its first-party studios to the task of creating high quality VR content once again.

But PSVR 2 only represents pseudo-competition for Meta, since the headset only appeals to those that already own a PS5 (or who are willing to buy a PS5 just to get the headset).

Real Competition for Meta?

On the other hand, some real competition from the likes of Pico and HTC may be on the way.

On the high-end, HTC’s newly announced Vive XR Elite is clearly positioned to compete with Meta’s Quest Pro. With most of the same essential features, but a lower price point ($1,100 vs. $1,500), the Vive XR Elite at least looks at face value like an alternative choice for those looking for a more compact VR headset with improved passthrough AR capabilities.

SEE ALSO
Quest 2 on Sale for Limited Time, Includes Free Copy of 'Resident Evil 4' & 'Beat Saber'

And on the low-end, Pico’s recently launched Neo 4 is the first such headset that is truly competing on price with Quest 2. Priced at €20 or €50 less than Quest 2 (depending upon storage capacity), looks like a real alternative. Granted, the company has yet to formally bring its headset to the United States—Meta’s home turf.

But… both Vive XR Elite and Pico Neo 4 share a common problem, and that’s content.

A Big Moment for Content Momentum

Regardless of specs and price, unless the content that users want is available on these headsets, they are difficult to consider real options (and thus real competition). As of now, both headsets lack many of the best-selling and most-played killer apps that are available on Meta’s Quest headsets.

But that could finally be changing. Compared to prior alternative standalone headsets, XR Elite and Neo 4 have a much more significant and recognizable body of content than we’ve seen in the past. If more developers recognize the benefit that both they and consumers alike would see from having a more competitive standalone market… perhaps this could be the start of an important sea change in the industry.

The Elephant in the Room

Of course the single biggest elephant in the room has been and will continue to be Apple. It seems that every month we get a new rumor about when the company will enter the market, with the only certainty being that the company is definitely hard at work on something—though no one knows precisely when they will announced it, let alone launch it.

Apple, more than any other company in the world, has the potential to disrupt Meta at its own game by releasing an XR headset with a highly polished user experience… something the social-media-turned-metaverse company (and frankly the VR industry at large) has struggled with.

Make no mistake, Apple’s entrance into the XR space will have wide reaching implications practically overnight—both within the XR space and outside of it.

Look for UX Innovation, Not a Hardware Breakthrough

But nobody should be expecting hardware breakthroughs from Apple. The company is stuck with the same (largely physical) constraints as the rest of the major players in the industry. Whatever device they launch is likely to have similar specs and form-factor to what the latest headsets we see on the market today. More importantly however, Apple is likely to contribute key software design, device interoperability, and overall UX learnings that other companies in XR have consistently struggled with.

SEE ALSO
The 20 Best Rated & Most Popular Quest Games & Apps – January 2023

While Apple is certainly a threat to the likes of Meta, the company’s entrance into the market is also likely to be a boon for Meta overall; not only will it be a validation of Meta’s early and ambitious bet on the space, but the best XR design concepts revealed from within Apple will be adopted for the betterment of the industry at large. For Meta, Apple’s entrance into the space can’t come soon enough.

Meta Faces the Same Old Struggles

While Quest 2 has been more widely adopted than any other standalone headset, user retention continues to be an issue. Not only due to substandard UX, but also the headset being stuck in an arcade phase where years-old games like Beat Saber, Superhot VR, and Job Simulator continue to be among the most popular games on the platform—seemingly signaling that only a small amount of compelling new content has reached the headset in the years since Quest 2 has launched. Meanwhile, the headset most enthusiastic userbase—core gamers—is underserved, waiting for the sort of large-scale and highly polished content that they expect from the traditional gaming space.

As for Meta’s 2023… outside of the Apple wildcard, the company has confirmed that it’s working on a next-gen consumer headset due out this year, which is very likely to be Quest 3. And while the company has some pretty wild R&D projects in the oven, more likely than not, Quest 3 will adopt core parts of the Quest Pro headset rather than offering some kind of major leap in features or form-factor.

Last But Not Least

As for PC VR, the only thing keeping the platform alive is an enthusiast player base that’s hungry for greater immersion and starved for next-gen VR content. Unfortunately with so much attention focused on standalone VR by platform holders and developers, PC VR in 2023 will be largely stuck with content built for other platforms that happens to spill over.

Between that content, the VR modding scene, smaller-scope projects from enthusiast indie developers, and the occasional release of VR-optional flight or racing sims—PC VR will feel like it’s on life support through 2023.

PC VR is and continues to be the place where users can push immersion to the next level with niche accessories like full-body trackers, racing & cockpit peripherals, haptic vests, and gun stocks. And while some unannounced PC VR headsets may make an appearance in 2023, the drought of next-gen PC VR content means dwindling reasons to upgrade.

– – — – –

What’s your 2023 VR outlook? Let us know in the comments below.

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.


  • James Petrarca

    The article talks about Apples 3000.00 AR headset that will use hand tracking as the savior of VR and Meta Quest 3 like it will only have add ons from Quest Pro. Nobody will by the 3000.00 headset except for hardcore very rich adopters. The Quest 3 is a huge leap in power and form factor the specs on the visuals alone are awesome. It will sell 60 million and with the 9 acquired game studios have some AAA games. They are the only company investing heavily and moving the medium forward. Instead of people attacking them from the PC community get mad at your core developers HTC and VIVE for not stepping up to the plate with games and great hardware. Sony is doing it for consoles. Meta is doing it for standalone. Who is there for PC? Even HTC went standalone WHY that was stupid.

    • ViRGiN

      Valve Steam recently hit yet another milestone – 10 million concurrent users.
      Their daily revenue surpassed 6+ years of their VR “investments”, yet entire PCVR crowd will never blame Valve for being a monopolist and not bothering with VR at all. They are all in on Deck, not rumoured Dickard.

    • James Petrarca

      To add I always see this kind of statement “being stuck in an arcade phase where years-old games like Beat Saber, Superhot VR, and Job Simulator ” Have any of these people used the Quest 2 since 202O? You can sideload mods without a PC, Red Matter 2, Bonelab, Green Hell, Iron Man, Walking Dead Saints and Sinners, Resident Evil 4 I can go on and on. Nobody using Quest is focused on launch titles they are playing the awesome games released in 2022. Not to mention the updates that occur every 2 weeks on the headset.

      • Ben Lang

        I don’t think your view represents the majority. The most popular games on Quest 2 are mostly many years old: https://twitter.com/benz145/status/1613976350850678808/photo/1

        • ViRGiN

          Top Sellers from 2022 on Quest
          1. Among Us
          4. BoneLab
          5. Into The Radius
          6. NFL Pro Era
          16. Surgineer
          17. Iron Man
          19. GRID Legends
          22. Walking Dead Chapter 2
          25. Warplanes
          31. Compound
          32. Mothergunship Forge
          38. Broken Edge
          42. Ancient Dungeon
          44. Green Hell

          28% of top 50 best sellers were released in 2022. Not a bad score, considering that new users are coming to platform every day and naturally they will want to try previous hits.

          Meanwhile, literally every single PCVR release with the exception of Bonelab was dead on arrival, which has lost 70% of players in the first month.

          PCVR once again as a whole has not been able to gain anywhere near as many players as HL Alyx did on release day – 42k+ concurrent users. It failed to get anywhere near that number across all VR games, combined, consistently for the past 3 years. Alyx also lost 70% of its players in the first month.

          • Ben Lang

            Top sold vs. top played are different

          • ViRGiN

            There is no “top played” category. Maybe you meant “most popular”, where there is no definition of what it means. Most searches? Most time spent? Kept installed the longest?

            People buy games to play them.

    • Ben Lang

      Apple will likely have large impact because they are the world’s most valuable company and have a unique approach to product design considering their scale. As mentioned, it isn’t their hardware that’s likely to be massively innovative, but more likely their software design and focus on specific, high value use-cases for customers that other companies will learn from and follow.

      • sfmike

        They have a unique approach to pricing too with the charge as much as the Apple cult members will pay proposition that seems to work for them but not really a boom for less well heeled enthusiasts. Hopefully they can push tech like they did with their phones that will trickle down to the rest of us.

      • Jonathan Winters III

        Not really. At $3k, it will be dead in the water as far as consumer VR is concerned.

        • I guess it better not cost $3K then, huh ….

      • Decktard

        Apple’s “user experience is disjointed and unrefined” just as much as Google and Microsoft and have been getting worse since their founders are gone screwing crackwhores and suckups are are wrecking their companies!

    • Cl

      I only see the quest shills attacking pcvr. Where do you see it the other way around?

      Luckily standalone headsets also do pcvr. Quest is stabdalone + pcvr. Idk why there is such a divide or fans of one or the other. Why can’t it be both

      • ViRGiN

        i see pcvr butthurt elitists shitting on the only vr thing that matter.
        get real.

  • Appreciate your grounded perspective on the year ahead, Ben. It’s hard to deny at this point that VR is in an awkward phase.

    I do take solace in the idea, that even if VR stopped progressing, the current state of things is pretty awesome. Vibrant communities in VRChat and Rec Room. Awesome mod work by praydog and others, and seeing the release of HL2VR. Phenomenal content updates for Walkabout Golf, Demeo, and Vermilion. I know for me personally, this year is going to be another year full of great time spent in VR. I’m sure I’ll be around making a fool of myself in the comment section as well. :p

    • pasfish111

      PCVR user here!… Thx to Meta we got no real good, quality VR Game since the end of 2020. I will never play cheap mobile games, so i have to wait until mobile VR Gamer recognize that their VR Games are rubbish and look and feel like PC-Games from 20 years ago :D … With this Meta have to host VR Cloudrendering Services and than VR Gaming will really start to get mainstream and I will start to play in VR again. See you in 2025 again! ;-)

      • ViRGiN

        or maybe redirect your hatred to your favorite company that has 10 million concurrent players daily, mada-faka-valve

        • pasfish111

          Valve gave VR the only real AAA VR Titel and with it the only moment in VR history were all other Gamers in the world was looking with big eyes on us VR Gamers! This are the moments VR Gaming really needs! Only five more of this moments and most PC-Gamer would have invested in VR and It had become mainstream very soon. But there was only Valve :-/

          A cheap Headset with gimmick VR Games that look like 20 year from the passt, will not motivated a single PC/Console Gamer to switch/invest. They are laughing about VR again :-/

          • ViRGiN

            Alyx was a dogshit game that would never matter if it wasn’t for the Half-Life title.
            And them producing a single game 3 years ago shows exactly how uncommited they are to VR.

            Meta released several huge games. You’ve got to be valve fanboy to ignore that.
            It’s simply not Call of Duty/Battlefield/Fortnite/GTA – those are the games that will kickstart VR revolution, not new franchises.

          • pasfish111

            Haha there is not a single VR game out their that is polished like Valves Titel in every aspect! No other VR title got even 5% of the attention from flat gamer like Alyx did.
            VR need exactly that kind of Titel/attention from outside of it’s bubble!

            Which huge Meta game do you mean????
            Outward a cool PCVR Game that Meta bought after two years and downgraded it to unplayable Quest 2 shit for kids? Lone Echo ll? A PCVR game that they bought a few months before it’s official PCVR release and than hold back for more than 2,5 years because they tryed to bring it to the Quest 2???
            Beatsaber a PCVR Game they bought 1,5 years after it’s release on PCVR.
            I have no idea which cool game they really have developed or gave in order in the last 3 years? :D :D :D …even Microsoft did in my eyes a better job with FS2020 for VR Gaming.

          • ViRGiN

            half life is a myth, it’s for nostalgia nerds, it’s retro. half life 2 is 19 years old. it’s irrelevant today despite what it did for the genre. and yet it had OFFICIAL support in 2013, only to be stripped away, and it took modders several years to port it to be usable with consumer VR headsets.

            but anyway, keep on shilling on alyx and crap on meta.

            flat gamers wanted to play alyx in flat mode; they did not rush out to buy headsets and those who did, played it, and immediatly sold it afterwards lol!

          • pasfish111

            1)Yes, it is a myth, the best VR Story Shooter an the most polished and finished AAA VR Titel until today ;-)
            2) Yes, PC Gamer came because HL to VR and a lot of them left again, because no other publisher (except Valve!) delivered real AAA VR content! – this is exactly what VR needs to get a lot of flat Gamers! We need AAA not low-End Games!
            3) @ 19 years old Titles. This are exactly the Games the Quest 2 can run :D :D :D. Like you said irrelevant, ugly games like GTA Andreas or Resident Evil 2 – two of the most famous Quest 2 Titel – it’s a shame! Flat Gamer will never ever come because of that Titles to VR (like with Alex) the laugh about VR Gaming again – thx to Meta and mobil VR.

          • ViRGiN

            1) i already said it’s not polished. so you are wrong.
            2) valve delivered, and valve forced them to quit, LOL!

          • pasfish111

            1) :D Show me a single more polished and optimiced AAA VR Game!? – I would love to play it! :D
            In theory there would be more possible already on PCVR, but this game is very optimiced to run already on mid to low class PCs very well.
            2) Valve delivered – most other big publisher did not – the others who don’t invest into the future are the problem! – not Valve!
            3) I still wait for your list with several huge Meta Titels :D :D :D

          • ViRGiN

            I don’t know why are you even asking, since obviously you are incapable of thinking soberly. No matter what I say, alyx is the king for you, despite utter failure it was for pcvr as a whole. Alyx lost 70% of players in its first month and have never recovered lol!

          • pasfish111

            Once again! HL Alex is by far the most polished VR Game ever released. That’s a fact (look at all scores). If you don’t like it, it’s your problem/taste ;-)
            Meta did only one thing for VR Gaming: They made it worse by downgrading good PCVR Titel (to a unplayable mass), buying most good, young PCVR Studios which have not released a single good new VR Game in hole 3 years. The problem: The mobile Quest is not able to compute really good/modern VR games! It’s a cheap social data mining device!

            Meta has zero interest in VR Gaming! If they would get your social data by selling you cheep beer, they would have done this and beer drinker would defand them like you do now with your data mining gift :D – Meta has invested in you (bought you) with the Quest ;-)

          • ViRGiN

            Look at the playerbase for the most polished VR game ever released.
            Even Gorilla Tag surpasses it! lol!

          • pasfish111

            It’s a AAA single player story shooter – its not made to play over and over again! – deal with that and play 1000 hours Gorilla Tag if you have nothing better on the Quest :D

          • ViRGiN

            lmao keep telling yourself that.
            and imagine valve made multiplayer in the very first half life they ever released. they never cared a single fuck about vr with alyx lol.

          • pasfish111

            Yes, and I never played it. I don’t like multiplayer games that much ;-) …even if Gorilla Tag would be a polished AAA game I would not touch it ;-). The only multiplayer I really liked was Onward until Meta bought and destroyed it (downgraded it) lol.

          • ViRGiN

            LMAO if you liked onward before meta bought it, then you have no standards whatsoever.
            it was counter strike 1.6 from 1999 in 2016 vr. it was a fully mobile vr game before mobile vr really existed.

          • Darshan

            Don’t include console they already got PSVR1 on PS4 and PSVR2 is coming for PS5. They are already covered well.

      • shadow9d9

        Meta is one of TWO companies actually funding game development. Literally no one else is.

  • XRC

    PCVR user here. Library full of software, some still unplayed, due to limited spare time.

    Index with 3080Ti = impressive clarity, range of different controllers, vive trackers for full body tracking, no complaints here; provides entertainment unlike anything else.

    • VR

      Also, PCVR user here.

      I salute you.

      Take care.

      • ViRGiN

        How to tell a PCVR user?
        He will always tell you.

        • VR

          It is all about chasing cutting-edge technology.

          • ViRGiN

            Which edge is it cutting?

          • VR

            The one that is being looked for.

          • ViRGiN

            Ah, you’re probably talking about Gorilla Tag then.

          • VR

            Nope.

          • ViRGiN

            Being second most popular PCVR game to date, just after Rec Room tells me it’s all about cutting edges.

          • VR

            Your assumption is wrong.

            Being popular does not require having cutting edge.

            Likewise, having cutting edge does not mean being popular.

            Needless to say, the one can be both popular and have cutting edge.

            Note: Apart from that Gorilla Tag is also very popular among Quest users. :)

            Indie VR Hit ‘Gorilla Tag’ is the Most-rated Quest Game Ever & It Just Landed on the Main Store

    • ViRGiN

      “fully body tracking” hahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahhhaha

  • ViRGiN

    Nah bud, PCVR given the hardware it requires offers nothing more than a Dreamcast grade experience.

  • ViRGiN

    Amico Intellivision anyone? Scam.

  • ViRGiN

    yeah, it’s a codename for handheld pc, meant to replace deck.

    • No, it’s an AIO.

      • ViRGiN

        Yeah yeah, and it’s coming out soon and will crush Meta and will deliver uncompromised pcvr experience.
        LMAO is valve getting inspirations from pimax portal and Nintendo labo?

        You’re so convinced about dickard and yet make fun of people who say Apple will cost 3k

        • Jonathan Winters III

          Oh God…you again. Spewing shit all over everyone else’s opinions. Please go away!

          • ViRGiN

            you again, getting triggered time and time again.
            go back to vrchat!

  • S Ander

    I think with PSVR 2 launching will also increase amount of PCVR games.

    Sony has talked about crossplatform(flat and VR) but outside of exclusives those could be ported to PCVR.

    That Apple headset can also be huge increase for whole VR&AR industry.

    What i am waiting for Quest 3 is better than Pico 4: Pancake lenses, rgb passthrough(so AR is somewhat usable), Qualcomm Snapdragon XR3, better Fov and resolution.

    One thing what Meta could do is get that their sweet DLSS&FSR&XeSS alternative for standalone Quest 2 and 3 so that graphics could be even closer to PCVR.

    Also Valve rumored Steam Deckard could be huge for VR adoption.

    • ViRGiN

      > Steam Deckard could be huge for VR adoption.
      ah yes, cause something will be huge while nothing is known about it. yeah everyone is complaining about the headsets and not the software huh?

    • poltevo

      Upscalling is hard (ML upscalling doubly so), requires powerful hardware, developer intergration and has a number of caveats. Its possible Quest 3 will have enough grunt, but I’m not optimistic.

      If Meta do include it don’t expect transformative results. On desktop, for instance, DLSS provides about a ~25% bump for comparible visual quality to native. Thats probably why Meta – and the rest of the industry – went for non-upscalling technologies first.

      • S Ander

        Actually Meta has 2020 developed ai supersampling tech for Quest 1 and that had upscaling of 16x so very big increase for performance.

        It was just not released for devs to use because it was not ready. I assume they think they do not want only 25-30% increase to performance and want that their solution will be much better increased performance while still having good visuals.

        There is roadtovr article on it which had video comparing default and that 16x output.

        • poltevo

          Yeah I’ve seen that paper. It does look interesting, but like most research it takes a long time to productionise, if ever. It also ran on a Titan V GPU, which even today is a powerful desktop GPU.

          I doubt Meta can do much better then NVidia, who are one of the leaders in this field and have refined DLSS over the last 4-5 years. NVidia also has the advantage of hardware/software intergration, while Meta is using an off-the-shelf chip.

          I think upscaling will come to Quest as some point, but Meta researchers can’t perform miracles.

  • JakeDunnegan

    Overall, a pretty cool assessment. 2023 does look to be a big year, not least of which b/c of Sony VR2.

    On the other side of the VR space, I rather wish Facebook hadn’t gone so all in on the Meta concept, since it’s rather flakey, and is obviously a huge drain on the company w/out any potential in the long-term (at least, not visibly, yet).

    I hope they continue to push the consumer end of the VR space, as that effort has done the most to make VR “mainstream”. I agree with the author that the push to Quest 2 has drawn down the quality of many of the games, but that is a short-term issue, and can be rectified as technology continues to shrink – and PC to VR streaming is still highly popular (as the Quest 2 is by far the dominant platform for VR gaming on Steam at 41% with the next closest competitor (Valve) at 17%).

  • ViRGiN

    wow, that’s lame. not only you believe in santa clause, valve working on vr, but you also spent money on amico, hahaha! no wonder you have such stupid takes on things quite often…

  • Cl

    Fortunately we have wireless pcvr. All those standalone headsets can connect to pc.

  • James Petrarca

    I’m sure it will be affordable

    • I say, like everything else Apple makes, it’ll be somewhere in the middle.
      Doable, but pricey.

  • Jonathan Winters III

    “Looming heavywait” to challenge meta? Apple won’t challenge meta. Their headset is rumoured to be $3000, a totally different market, with no gaming store, and no game development studios.

  • pasfish111

    1)Yes, thx to Meta! Who bought most of the best PCVR studios (PCVR have supported them over years) and their hole community with gifted toy VR HMD – to sell their data :-/ The Problem is you support a company that have no interest in VR Gaming! They are only interested in your sozial Data!
    Mobil VR would never ever exists without Metas los of 11 billion $ in three years!!! It could not exist without Mark Z. We had mobile VR already in 2015 and it failed in only 2 years because no one could or want to spend 11 billions to keep it alive.
    With a “gift” of 11 billion Dollars PCVR would be already mainstream. You can make 3000+ AAA VR Titels out of this money and even 100 new AAA Title would have been enough for PCVR to make it big.
    2) Every PCVR Player who started in 2016 (like me) has spend more dollars in VR than most Quest-Player. We are the guys with the 5000€ hardware and not kids or students who got the Quest mostly from Santa :D
    3) Good, so you already know about the massive limitations of mobile VR and feel that it needs way more to get really big/mainstream! – thats a fist step we can build on :-)
    But sadly VR Cloudstreaming will need longer than you think. Hopefully it will be supported with the Quest 3 but most of the Quest gamers don’t have fast enough internet and enough money for 40€ a Cloud-abo per month. Before not a big part of Quest-Gamers have invested in Cloud-abos Meta will not provide that much new AAA highend VR Games and they needs around 3 years in development. So I think, 2026/27 is more realistic to get enough AAA VR Games again on the marked.

    • ViRGiN

      nutjob

    • shadow9d9

      Most of the studios they bought are garbage to be honest. The sales numbers on pcvr are absolutely abysmal…that’s why development dried up.. and they moved to Oculus simply because sales are 10x pcvr over there.

      • pasfish111

        This studios do their best, but mobile HMD can’t run good games ;-) – thats the hole problem :D

  • Jamesjr

    Lets talk about elephant in room. I started with CV1 in 2016 played Mages Tale, Lone Echo, Half Life Alyx, Skyrim VR modded, Fallout VR modded on and on. Quest 1 and 2 sucked when released. Since then massive gains in hardware and software and not stopping in mobile VR. I am now used to mobile graphics and portability and bored with outdated PCVR. Why? Meta, Pico etc are not game companies but social media but they have tirelessly bought and worked to improve VR. Valve releases 1 game half life alyx showing the world they can produce the best VR games, but thats it nada where is the rest of their catalogue or new groundbreaking games for VR from them? They are a SOFTWARE company! They abandoned VR all the new hardware does nothing of their is no good content. I am mad at Valve you guys blame Meta, PICO, everyone else because I am sure they are to blame for PCVR failure even though they are spending billions to advance the medium even renaming the company to show their commitment to the VR. Valve is focused on a handheld which is great but where are the games?

    • ViRGiN

      corection, valve is not a software company. they are a file hostiny company – all they really do is provide basic web interface and host game files. it’s essentially megaupload.
      valve always sucked and have 20 years long monopoly on the pc market, employing about 350 people and yet making billions, absolutetly hamstering worlds wealth and not giving back anything.

      anyone supporting valve is a nutjob and out of touch with reality, all because he gets to play shitty humble bundle games.

    • XRC

      Here’s the thing, there are slightly less steamVR users than Linux gamers on Steam, a paltry 2% of the entire Steam user base. And Linux itself could be considered a very small niche compared to Windows users.

      Shows the insane love Valve had for VR, collaboration with HTC (Vive), The Lab, then Index and HLA…for less than 2% of their user base.

      • ViRGiN

        what a crazy rant. valve do not care about their users. steamvr ABANDONED SUPPORT FOR MACOS! LESS THAN 4 YEARS AFTER ANNOUNCEMENT! yet it’s Meta being smeared with shit from people like you for announcing “abandoning” Quest 1.

        valve required taking a beating from EU to even allow refunds on their platform.

      • Jistuce

        It is worth noting that VR users are a more lucrative 2% than Linux users.

        Between Wine and dual-booting, Linux has long been a difficult game market because a lot of Linux users buy and use the Windows version of games. This has been true for a looooong time.
        As in, it was referenced as a problem back when Apple was selling computers based on PowerPC(Mac ports were more consistently profitable than Linux ports because Mac users couldn’t run Windows games).

        VR gamers are more like Mac gamers in that ancient example. You can’t get the VR experience anywhere else. Thus, it is a niche, but a potentially lucrative one.

        Shit, I’m the Linux gamer in this scenario. I own a Quest. I can play most of the same games on Quest or Windows.

      • Jamesjr

        They did from 2014 – 2016 then with Alyx release but thats not enough to sustain PCVR. Sony is all in, Meta is definitely all in actually betting their company on it, Apple is not all in but has been steadily developing for years developing new OS etc to support their product. Valve and HTC its a side gig and often not that. The issue is adoption that is why John Carmack worked tirelessly to get a wireless easy to setup headset to the masses. He knew nobody jumps on board until millions and millions of a product are sold. He was right. All the fancy hardware at CES was cool this year but in the end not PSVR2 or HTC but Quest 3 will be the Christmas gift to sell a ton of units and even more AAA developers will jump on board in 2024-2025. Its made for consumers and everyone. Pico 5 will dominate the Asian market.

        • Jamesjr

          Here is a side thought though, if AR/VR takes off and is indeed a desktop replacement then all computer users will be using an HMD instead of having an actual monitor and keyboard. At that point it would just make sense that all PCVR games start to be made in VR/AR.

    • pasfish111

      To keep it short:
      Meta is afraid that there business model (collecting and selling user data) will have a soon end!
      That’s the only motivation why the inverse billions in sozial VR. They have zero interest in VR Games at all!
      The only need them at the moment to bring people to VR – as fast and cheap as possible.

      I hate their motivation, their goals and their mobile/low end VR. We all feel the consequences with poor VR quality/expiriences since Meta took with mobile VR over and bought every good PCVR Studio they could.

      Valve gave us the biggest VR Store, the best PCVR Headset, the best Controller, the best Tracking, the best AAA VR Game and the only moment in history very ever Gamer on earth looked for a sort moment whit wet eyes at us VR Gamers. What do you want more???

      -Blame all those big studios who have looked only at money and did not invest in the future of VR!
      Valve is not a that big game developer. They always need very long to publish new games – like blizzard and co.

      • shadow9d9

        Valve doesn’t care. They make free money by being the first store. No headset in 3 years and a single game in 8. They DO NOT CARE! And the first 4/5 hours of Alyx was a long slog down dark linear corridors. 3 puzzles repeated 30 times each, no story to speak of, horrible ending… No, just no.

  • ViRGiN

    get off your hopium, and unsubscribe from bradley.

  • deckert

    Ben, thanks for sharing. Let me provide some thoughts from an Enterprise perspective.

    As of today, no Meta HMD has passed an enterprise security assessment. Yes, there are some major buyers (think thousands of HMDs per company and there are more than a few of those companies) but not one of those HMDs sits inside the firewall and none of them have access to company data.

    This is the single largest issue for Enterprise VR and why it has not taken off – no ability to secure or manage the headset. (Yes there are 3rd party providers – but that is only managing the headset and content load, the HMD is still a programatic security risk).

    In 2022 that left Pico Neo 4 and HTC (VF3) to be deployed in the enterprise, but their performance (both frame rate and battery life) are 30% lower (not to mention their SDKs are dated and are not often updated). But, they are secure (generally), and for the enterprise – that is most important criteria.

    For 2023 – Lenovo seems to be a key focus for the enterprise. For those that don’t know – Lenovo is a big player in the enterprise laptop market and has proven management, security, and provisioning tools that are enterprise friendly.

    At CES the announced an HMD (VRX) for their enterprise management platform – and a lot of enterprises are watching that very closely. MANY of the Meta ISVs have begun porting their enterprise solutions over to Lenovo (and HTC) and if Meta doesn’t get it’s act together and launch Quest for Business – almost every enterprise that has invested in wireless VR will make their next purchase with Lenovo or similar. Pico continues to shine in Europe, but may continue to struggle in North America due to their Byte Dance affiliation.

    There is a lot of pent up demand for an Enterprise class wireless HMD that can be managed and is secure. The use cases are there for training, collaboration, and working. 2023 may finally be the year that VR graduates to the Enterprise.

    Of course, that is not as exciting as the consumer side – but when it comes to actually using the HMD – there’s a very compelling enterprise ROI/Use case that can now be realized

    • poltevo

      Thanks for this post. I’ve heard that the enterprise was how the PC came to dominate the personal computing market in the 80s/90s; people got used to working with PCs at work and then brought one for the home.

      VR might be the the same: Expensive hardware and clunky software is much less of an issue for the enterprise (then consumers). Microsoft are still best placed to capitalise due to their dominance in Windows and Cloud, but it doesn’t seem to be a priority for them right now.

      An interesting question for me is whether wireless HMDs will take over from potentially cheaper and lighter wired ones.

    • nullcodes

      VR plateaued because display quality plateaued. We were supposed to be on 8K per eye by now. VR sucks for movies, laptop replacement, or anything that required high visual fidelity. All the other reasons people give for its plateau are dumb, and nobody gets this.

  • skyrimer

    I think you’re missing a HUGE aspect that’s going to change PC VR landscape completely, and that’s the incoming UE4 VR mod, which is going to makes dozens, maybe even hundreds of AA and AAA games fully playable in VR. Games like Stray, Scorn, GTA remakes, Borderlands 3, Shadow Warrior 3, and many more amazing games will work fine with some tweaking, and apparently they could even receive hand controls. This could be extremely disruptive for PC VR, and could even make some developers adapt those mods as official releases.

    • ViRGiN

      copium addict.
      nobody gives a shit about flat mods.
      the desperation of pcvr abuser/elitists jacking off to copium of mods being the best pcvr has to offer literally shows how horrible platform it is and how unhealthy it has become.

      pcvr people are different species.

      and one size fits all hacks have been a thing for 10 years on pcvr – LOL! vorpx is trash, and so are mods. ya’ll want to turn VR into 3D TV gaming.

      • skyrimer

        So Skyrim VR is a terrible game right? Fallout 4? Hellblade? All team beef mods like Doom 3, Jedi Knight…? For example, Severed Steel is already using Praydog UE4 mod (search the vid), and it has full 3d and hand controls, so it’s basically indistinguible from a regular VR game, how is that a “flat mod” and how is that bad in any form for VR?

        • ViRGiN

          Skyrim is absolute dogshit. Fallout is crap. Hellblade? Nobody cares. Beef PORTS, not mods? Great way to replay old games for standalone as a BONUS content.
          Severed Steel? Looks indie as fuck. All it gives you is a 3D mouse. There is no gun interactions. Press R to reload and that’s it, lol! Why even use hands at that point, just stick to xbox controller. If you consider that “indistinguible” from regular VR.. oh boy. Yeah you’re flat-to-vr cultist.

          With your username, it’s crystal clear you have to install 500GB of mini-mods for skyrim to have a barely acceptable, still janky experience.

          • skyrimer

            Hmmmkay, well please enjoy your quest mobile vr games with ps2 graphics, I’ll gladly play SCORN, Severed Steel, Borderlands 3,Monster Hunter World, Call of Ctulhu and so many more in full VR and motion controls meanwhile.

          • ViRGiN

            You do you, just don’t act like anything you have said have any importance to vr as a whole.
            Enjoy your 3d tv gaming

          • shadow9d9

            Switch is “mobile” and about to be the 3rd best selling console of all time. No one cares. Being obsessed with graphics beyond the 9th grade is just sad.

        • shadow9d9

          Well, skyrim was always terrible. A generic, bloatfest through and through. And jankmods are generally garbage and only for those that are desperate and refuse to play more than one genre or the dozens of highly rated VR originals.

  • ViRGiN

    did you get triggered about me dismissing valve dickard and decided to block me?
    LMAO!

  • Jistuce

    Standalone headsets will NEVER offer the same level of performance as PCVR.
    I am not saying that standalone headsets do not have value, or that people should choose one way or another. I want to make that clear. And I remain impressed by the software performance people are squeezing out of the limited hardware they have available.
    But this idea that a set of goggles will come out in two years that’s more powerful than a top-end gaming PC is patently ludicrous.

    People keep talking about hardware advancement closing the gap as if PC hardware isn’t ALSO advancing. The standalones are getting closer to a goal that isn’t there anymore. Best case scenario, the standalones are always equivalent to … we’ll say a five-year-old gaming PC.
    Buuuuuuuuuuuut there also remain serious cooling problems limiting performance in the standalone environment(both for the hardware’s safety as well as the users). And even if you can just ignore heat rising with microprocessing power…. there’s still plain old battery life. It is exponentially harder to cram more power into a set of goggles than a suitcase-sized box sitting on the floor and plugged into a wall.

    All that said… wireless is a lot nicer when you’re trying to move about the room. I know how to not trip on the cable, but it is a constant distraction nagging at the corner of my immersion.
    It is rare that I can get my Quest to do AirLink or VirtualDesktop with any reasonable degree of quality here, but when it works it is magical.

  • Cheese

    Valve put out the best game so far, why they dont do another half life is beyond my comprehension , shame on you guys, valve also needs to treat there steam deck users a easy transition to get game pass and other gaming venues without being a computer scientist . I have followed step by step and still no luck. Spend lots of money and still no reciprocation in making things right for none computer people

  • Thanks for sharing this analysis, Ben… it’s very well written. I will also add a parenthesis about AR, which is basically still a “work in progress” mostly for enthusiasts and enterprise. Smartglasses instead are on the rise instead of a certain tech-savy niche (see the Rayban Stories).

    Regarding XR in general there is another huge elephant in the room: investments. With the recession, the mess in the tech world created by the iOS privacy policy, and the deflating of the hype on the metaverse, finding money to fund your XR venture is harder than before. This is causing companies to shut down, or startups to tune down their ambitions. This is going to go on also for the first part of 2023.

  • nullcodes

    VR plateaued because display resolution plateaued. We’re supposed to be at 8K per eye now.