For the third month running, the number of VR headsets on Steam has reached a new record high of some 2.9 million, or 2.3% of Steam users.
Update (April 4th, 2021): A prior version of this article reported that monthly-connected headsets on Steam had reached just over 3 million, or 2.4% of Steam users. Following that report, Valve’s published data was changed slightly to 2.3% of Steam users, causing our estimate to change to 2.924 million. Although this falls shy of the 3 million milestone, it remains the highest ever count of monthly-connected VR headsets on Steam both by proportion and by count.
The article below has been updated with this new information, and expanded with the latest data on the share of individual headsets on Steam.
Monthly-connected VR Headsets on Steam
Each month Valve collects info from Steam users to determine some baseline statistics about what kind of hardware and software is used by the platform’s population, and to see how things are changing over time, including the use of VR headsets.
The data shared in the survey represents the number of headsets connected to Steam over a given month, so we call the resulting figure ‘monthly-connected headsets’ for clarity; it’s the closest official figure there is to ‘monthly active VR users’ on Steam, with the caveat that it only tells us how many VR headsets were connected, not how many were actually used.
While Valve’s data is a useful way see which headsets are most popular on Steam, the trend of monthly-connected headsets is obfuscated because the data is given exclusively as percentages relative to Steam’s population—which itself is an unstated and constantly fluctuating figure.
To demystify the data Road to VR maintains a model, based on the historical survey data along with official data points directly from Valve and Steam, which aims to correct for Steam’s changing population to estimate the actual count—not the percent—of headsets being used on Steam.
A New Record Three Months Running
The number of monthly-connected headsets on Steam has seen strong growth in the prior two months, seemingly boosted by Quest 2 which last month became the most popular headset in use on the platform.
Now, for the third month in a row, we’re seeing a new record high number of monthly-connected headsets, both in proportion and total count. This month the count reached 2.3% of Steam users, which we estimate to be just over 2.92 million headsets.
To put the milestone into perspective: it took 41 months for Steam to reach 1 million monthly-connected headsets but just 11 months to add nearly another 2 million for a total of 2.92 million monthly-connected headsets. Year-over-year, the number of headsets is up 110%.
Historically it’s common to see spikes in the number of headsets on Steam just after the holidays (accounting for holiday buyers trying out their new headsets), but this time around we’re seeing sustained growth even three months after the holidays.
Looking at VR adoption on Steam compared to some other metrics gives an idea of how it stacks up. At 2.3%, VR adoption on Steam is steadily encroaching on the total number of MacOS users using Steam on a monthly basis, while the growth of users with 8+ CPU cores is so far outpacing VR.
Share of VR Headsets on Steam
Looking at the breakdown of individual headsets in use on Steam, we can see that Quest 2 continues strong growth compared to the rest of the pack, now holding 24.25% (+1.34%) of the share of monthly-connected headsets on Steam.
To a much smaller extent, Valve Index and Windows Mixed Reality were the other winners this month, at 16.37% (+0.37%) and 6.50% (+0.35%) respectively. The bulk of the gains came at the expense of HTC Vive at 12.24% (–0.81%), Rift S at 20.96% (–0.62%), the original Quest at 5.74% (–0.35%), and the original Rift at 7.07% (–0.33%).
Although Quest 2 picked up the largest share this month, it would seem that a bulk of its gains are coming from users who are trading up from other Oculus headsets; while Quest 2 gained +1.34% itself, Oculus headsets on Steam combined only grew to 58.02% (+0.04%). Meanwhile, HTC’s headsets combined dropped to 16.51% (–0.73%).