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%).

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Amni3D

    Pleasant surprise. Valve doesn’t count the headsets that aren’t plugged, as opposed to what other companies share, total units sold and attachment rates only during launch where they’re historically inflated.

    I find it weird how people are saying “SteamVR is dead” when they’re reporting record numbers, sharing some of the success of Quest 2.

    • Zack71

      People (me too!) says that pcvr is dead because, after alyx, there weren’t new aaa games, but only games that could run on the Quest 2 without pc.

      • Ad

        That could be fatal long term. PC users will think those games are low fidelity, quest users will get them on quest.

      • Amni3D

        This is actually the case for flatscreen too, eg PS5 launch. All around the covid arc brought us into a content drought, where either not enough people are making things or no one wants to announce anything.

        I do think most VR games should try to release on what platforms they can. But some games like Jet Island or VR Chat just make more sense at a conceptual level to target PC.

      • Marian

        Medal of Honor VR for PC was released later and it is an AAA game. Also Quest did not get many AAA games (maybe only The Climb 2, Warhammer and the new Star Wars game). I see that the developers are focused more on Quest now, that is for sure. There is not much AAA games (either for PC or Quest) but fortunately more are coming. Still, there are many high quality VR games from indie developers.

        • Zack71

          You did not understand.
          Ok I forgot MOH.
          But all the other new games, they could run on quest alone, they are very light, so you could pkay them on a Quest without Pc.

        • Baldrickk

          Indie games lead the way for the most part with VR titles… AAA has been a bit lacking so far. Alyx was great… MoH, not so much.

        • namekuseijin

          the problem with the Quest is not the tons of minigames or shovelware it’s bought. It’s the asinine arguments supporters come up with to hype up this crap and to crap all over AAA games in VR.

          I’ve seen that before in the Wii days when Nintards used to do the same against xbox 360 and PS3 and hype up crap like Wii Fit. Because, hey, it was far more popular thanks to non-gamers enjoying it as the trendy toy.

        • xyzs

          I think you didn’t understand AAA definition….

      • alxslr

        I think that will change when flawless wireless PCVR arrives. Many developers will target both platforms (and many users with a Quest and a gaming PC will prefer the PCVR version of the game).And some will publish on PCVR only. The graphics diference is still kind of huge, specially for hardcore gamers’ eyes.

        • HindsiteGenius

          I think it will only change when they start putting out compelling headsets that you don’t need to sell your firstborn to afford. Quest 2 was a game changer like it or not.

          Also Im one of those who prefers the PCVR version as opposed to the Quest version due to the better graphical fidelity.

          Ultimately regardless of the platform newer games or experiences of the same quality and fidelity as HLA need to be made to move it forward.

        • xyzs

          I think you didn’t understand AAA definition…..

      • Lack of video games you like is hardly a metric to use when judging VR’s deadness. I work in VR training and it is FAR from dead.

        • Zack71

          I don’t like, I love videogames.
          But the last vg you can find on Steam are vg that you can play on OQ, you don’t need a pc.

      • Bumpy

        While its nice VR numbers increase, Quest and all its limitations is dumbing down VR games.

        • Zack71

          This could be true or false.
          Playstation One was very limited, but it was bought by a lot of people and it made videogames maistream.

        • xyzs

          Totally agree. On Quest, we are stuck with shitty mini games that last 2 hours if even and with low quality graphics. I was an enthusiast for years but now I pause till they have true games to offer. And I sold my Quest 2 since I actually preferred my Quest 1. Better sound and better dark level. And for what Quest store has to offer, or link to steam, it’s way enough.

      • namekuseijin

        there’s an AAA released this year in VR for psvr but, hey, it’s dead…

  • wheeler

    “But PC[VR] gaming is dead”

  • Amazing to see this growth!

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  • namekuseijin

    I guess it tracks by day? So in 30 days it tracked around 3 million, so that’s around 100.000 headsets per day – and that’s about the user base for VR.

    it can be even lower, if it counts +1 each time a single user connects to steamVR per day… :/

    • Blaexe

      No. It simply means that 2.3% of the monthly Steam users (around 120m) used a VR headset at least once last month. Indidvual users.

    • TechPassion

      Are you in primary school? Assumptions of child.

      • namekuseijin

        children are optimists

  • Sven Viking

    I wonder what it is that causes Valve to often need to revise the figures after publishing, sometimes multiple times?

    • benz145

      My guess is that it’s related to differences in month lengths but I’m not sure.

      • Sven Viking

        They should probably build that into their automated system if so.

  • Was just asked to participate in the survey this morning whilst starting my Index. It’s not connected when not in use so haven’t participated in a survey for several years.

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  • JJM D800

    “Hard core” PCVR gamers will snub at OC/OC2. However, the “gateway drug” VR for MOST people out there will be the FB platform. This WILL increase AAA games for PCVR as more FB platforms are also used… Think about it. For example, Drop Dead in Q/Q2 is “pretty good” BUT if you purchased it in Q/Q2, it is FREE in PCVR with 10x the graphics and it is cross platformed! More Q/Q2 “beefier” games will come out on PCVR – satisfying the “hard core PCVR” crowd AND the new Q/Q2 users! I for one own two Q2 and because of it own two RXT 3070 entry level machines to go with them… All this due to Q/Q2 (had two of the original Quest Oculus as well)…

  • VRworldorder

    I’d venture to guess that the three month growth in Oculus quest numbers has a lot to do with Virtual Desktop not needing to be sideloaded any longer.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Don’t count on that, as a lot of people don’t have the slightest clue about Virtual Desktop, and the people that do know already knew how to sideload it.

      • FPUK

        About a million+ monthly users of Sidequest means a lot of VR users do know about sideloading, and people either getting into VR with Quest, or Rift users switching over to Quest 2 is the main driver behind that.

  • Jonathan Winters III

    Steam VR headset count is ALWAYS hitting a record high, not just now.

    • benz145

      No its not, I don’t think you understand this dataset.

    • Jistuce

      Almost always. The graph does show occasional dips. But still essentially exponential growth.

  • ImperialDynamics

    Windows Mixed Reality is holding strong!

  • Als89

    RIft CV1 here…still waiting for a worthy upgrade….

    • Matthew Lake

      Coming from Rift that I got in 2016, Quest 2 was a massive upgrade. The only thing I miss about Rift is how light it is. Otherwise, after going back to it just to see what it was like after using Quest 2 for a few months… it looked terrible. In almost every single way, Quest 2 is a better headset and has made me use VR even more.

      • Als89

        Thanks but I’m looking for a non oculus option although if the facebook requirement were taken away I’d consider the Quest line.

    • FPUK

      The CV1 isn’t exactly a great VR headset any more. I went from the DK2, CV1, Rift S to the Quest 2, and there is no way I would ever consider getting a CV1 for a main headset these days, unless it was about £100 with touch and at least a few tracking stations.

      The lack of wireless, inside out tracking and passthrough is a dealbreaker. The mess of USB cables for tracking stations is horrible. The resolution is far too low, and having two chunky cables to the headset is just annoying.

      The Quest 2 with the Elite strap and battery pack is a huge upgrade from the CV1, and a decent improvement over the Rift S as well.

      The Quest 2 is a bit heavier, but the Elite strap makes it a lot more comfortable. The worst thing about the Quest 2 is that the standard strap for me is horrendously uncomfortable, and IMO the only thing the CV1 does better than the Quest 2 is the over-ear optional headphones, but they were £50 additional…

  • Rafael

    What about HP G2 growth?

  • Sahida

    PlayStation Gold Wireless Headset provides wireless audio and surrounds sound for the PlayStation 4, a few issues prevent it from being truly unique. The advanced gaming headset for PS4 or PS VR will take your sound to the next level. The headphones have a low profile and are round. Sony has made the earcups steeper to compensate for this. This makes it feel like your ear is being stuffed into the headphones. This was an excellent fit for me personally; however, more prominent ears may not find it as comfortable. Even minor pressures can be quite acute after just a few hours of gaming. This seems to have been designed for too narrow an audience. Gaming with glasses is not likely to find any favorable conditions.