NVIDIA co-founder & CEO Jensen Huang took the stage today at the company’s CES 2019 press conference, issuing a strong claim that four million PC VR headsets have been sold to date.

Update (January 7th, 2019): Nvidia told Road to VR that the figure was the result of data compiled by analytics firm ABI. The original article follows below.

Original Article (January 6th, 2019): The two largest PC VR headset manufacturers, Oculus and HTC, have been cagey on providing sales numbers, although GPU manufacturer Nvidia might have a pretty good line on how many headsets have been sold since consumer PC VR came to market in early 2016.

While the provenance of the figure isn’t clear at this time, Huang seemed to imply, but didn’t outright state, that it was based on the company’s own analytics, which would make it a much more accurate figure than a mere estimate. (see update)

Aside from Nvidia’s own data, the figure could have come from official data shared by the company’s VR hardware partners, or be an analyst estimate.

2018 Ends With a Record Number of VR Headsets on Steam

It’s import to note that GeForce Experience, the company’s software suite, already detects your computer’s hardware to determine if it meets the ‘VR Ready’ specification. It might also provide Nvidia with the information about which displays customers are plugging into their GPUs, which could include whether a VR headset has been plugged in or not—an important part of the equation considering Nvidia makes up such a significant percentage of the GPU industry’s market share.

We’ve reached out to Nvidia to clarify the source of the four million PC VR number, and will update when we hear back.

We have feet on the ground at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. We’ll be reporting on all the latest AR/VR news this week, so check back soon.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • domahman

    There will be more when 2nd Gen VR comes.

    • Lucidfeuer

      I like those useless and quite non-sensical statement like “rain is wet”…

      • domahman

        It’s not always the truth. Did 3D tv take off? I made an assumption.

        • Lucidfeuer

          Well what makes you think VR will take-off during gen2 (which supposedly is this year and is late) especially since 3D TVs have sold way more (in absolute terms, of course I’m not speaking for the relative terms compared to general TV sales and yet…)?

          • Peter K

            You don’t have to agree with his assumption dude

          • Lucidfeuer

            Another “rain is wet” statement…it’s not about agreement or opinion but discussion and learning.

          • Puden

            You must be such fun to hang around with. Another ‘rain is wet ‘ statement.

          • Lucidfeuer

            People who parrot that lame “you must be fun to hang out with” are not fun to hang out with. A last “rain is wet” statement.

          • domahman

            I speculate because of Oculus/facebook push for mainstream. In turn, people will migrate to PC for better experience…maybe :)

          • Full Name

            The 3d feature didn’t sell a lot of tv’s BECAUSE of the 3d feature itself, but because it was practically included for free (and you often have to buy your own glasses if you want to use it, which most didn’t). People who buy VR, buy it specifically for that purpose, and obviously the immersion level is in a whole new ballpark.

  • impurekind

    Not too shabby.

  • Tom Szaw

    Exactly. Second gen, with much higher resolution, way better and sharper lens (bigger sweet spot), with 180-210″ FOV, lighter, no cables, priced around 300-500 USD. This must be released for the mass market adoption. It is not bad currently, but I see not much high quality content is available for VR. I have just bought Odyssey+ and it is an amazing device. It has its flaws, but still its great.

    • MosBen

      I think that your asks are probably a bit too ambitious. The next gen HMDs will definitely be in the $300-$500 price range. It’s likely that they will have higher resolution screens, but probably not a huge jump from the screens in the Vive Pro or Odyssey+. They’ll very likely be lighter. They will also almost certainly have a wider FOV, but probably more in the 140-160 range than 180-210. They probably won’t, however, be wireless, though they may well use inside out tracking and have the option of using the virtual link cable to reduce the tethers to just one cable.

      • Xron

        Well, next Hmd, atleast from Oculus might be Rift S, and I would call it 1.5 gen device, higher res, bigger fov, lighter, more comfortable, but I guess thats all.., no eye tracking and stuff like that.

        • MosBen

          It would be a pretty interesting discussion, at least to me, to try to define what counts as a generation for VR purposes. Thus far, it doesn’t seem super clear to me where we would draw that line, but maybe it will be clear when a second generation device comes out.

          Personally, here are the things that I think we should look for in 2nd gen devices: higher res screens than the Vive Pro Odyssey+, bigger FOV than 110 degrees, improved ergonomics (weight, straps, face padding), improved controllers/inputs, inside out tracking, wireless. If an HMD hits 3-4 of those, I’d probably call it 2nd generation.

          Ultimately, though, we’ll likely define generations by what the manufacturers call them. I vaguely remember that when the Quest was announced Oculus said that it was their last 1st generation device, making the Rift S 2nd gen by default.

          • kool

            I’d add wireless to that list, but yeah your right. I don’t plan on upgrading until I can get a headset with all those features are in it.

          • MosBen

            While I would love to be surprised, I’m not holding my breath for an HMD that hits all of the details that I noted, and I’m really skeptical that they’ll be wireless. If HMD makers were on the verge of being able to make next generation HMDs that were wireless they probably wouldn’t have worked out the VirtualLink standard that was only released a few months ago. It’d be totally awesome, but I’ll stay skeptical for now and hope to be surprised.

          • kool

            Yeah I doubt next gen will be wireless because of vlink, but I was surprised to see these stand-alone headsets offer it and keep my fingers crossed lol!

          • Mradr

            Wireless is both costly to add and offers little gain back. Plus it doesn’t scale well if you plan on increasing your resolution over time. You are better off getting a stand alone device or walk around with a laptop on your back honestly.

          • Full Name

            huh. offers little gain back?? I love the wireless feature on the Vive Pro+Wireless solution I have. It’s a whole new play experience to me, and much easier to show to new people especially, that previously kept tripping over the cable.

          • Mradr

            What makes a next gen device next gen is the use of the technology we already know about. Eye tracking, for example, is a next generation line that will split what current headsets can do and what the future can bring.

            Eye tracking allows for many advancements such as:
            1) Less render time – aka – more performance from the use of tricks to only render where the eye is looking in high quality lowering the rest of the screen at a lower target resolution.

            2) Allow bigger jumps in resolutions

            3) Eye gazing/tracking of the eyes for input and extra realism

            4) Variable Focus allowing us to focus on close and far away targets.

            5) Allows greater amount of current hardware access to the same spec HMD and allow lower overall cost to owning VR. For example, not needing a 980ti or 1080. Instead – getting a 1070 or a 1060 ti.

            As of right now – unless they come out with either bigger jumps in video cards – we’re already at current video cards limits when it comes to VR with the Vive Pro as it is. Granted – there is still lots of room for optimization in terms of software – but screen resolutions can’t grow larger do to the fact that it takes double the render screen.

  • Pizzy

    Hardware don’t sell hardware, games do imo, and I think so good games are in the pipe by now. Come on Valve.

  • It seems a good number to me. Added to the 3M PSVR devices, we are at 7M