The release of Half-Life: Alyx (2020) on Steam in late March brought along with it nearly one million additional monthly-connected VR headsets, a record gain in SteamVR users. Valve just released its Steam Hardware Survey for May, and it seems there’s been zero pull-back in connected headsets one month after the usership surge.
In fact, the recorded number of VR headsets has actually gone up by a fraction, going from April’s 1.91% to 1.92% in May.
It wouldn’t have been that strange to see at least some reduction month-over-month since the game’s launch, as people plugged in for Half-Life: Alyx alone and then simply left after the last headcrab was vanquished. The numbers suggest however that new users might just be staying around for more than just HLA, which in our review took us 12 hours to beat.
The actual makeup of connected VR headsets has changed a bit however over the last month, with many major PC VR headsets such as HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S, and Valve Index losing a fraction of a percentage.
Connected Oculus Quest headsets, which account for 7.46% of the total number of connect headsets now, made a gain of 1.43% in May alone—making for the largest increase among the lot.
This steady growth in Quest users could be attributed both to Facebook’s continual (if not sporadic) restocking of the largely sold out headset combined with the recently revised standard for Oculus Link, which now allows lets Quest users play Steam games by connecting to VR-ready PCs with the stock charging/data cable that comes in the box.
Granted, Valve’s monthly Steam Hardware Survey only tells a part of the story when it comes to its VR users. Those headsets are indeed plugged in, but there’s no telling how active that new userbase truly is; that will likely require a longer time frame to see whether those gains are a new floor for continued growth or a transient spike in users. Considering the wealth of content generated over the past four years though, it’s very likely those users are here to stay.