In a look back at 2020, Facebook Reality Lab’s head Andrew Bosworth revealed that Quest 2 quietly celebrated a few new milestones shortly after its October 13th launch.

In the blogpost, Bosworth says that despite the need for social distancing in 2020, it’s actually been a pretty great year for the company in terms of growing virtual reality.

“VR had a tremendous year. Oculus Quest 2 is our fastest-growing VR headset, thanks to the convergence of leading VR form factors and the content built by our developer community.”

Bosworth didn’t mention any hard figures, but he says that Quest 2 “surpassed the original Quest’s monthly active people in less than 7 weeks,” an impressive feat.

A Facebook spokesperson told Road to VR that this is based on concurrent measurements between the two headsets. However Quest 2 has also since surpassed Quest 1’s record high number of monthly active users, the company tells us.

Photo by Road to VR

Considering the original Quest managed to generate $150 million of revenue in apps and games sales—calculated after its 2019 launch until shortly before Quest 2 was released—there’s no telling what Quest 2 will be able to accomplish in the same time frame.

Additionally, Bosworth says there are now more women using Quest 2 than any of their previous headsets—which Facebook says is based on overall percentage, not simply a raw number.

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None of this really comes as a surprise though; company CEO Mark Zuckerberg reported shortly after its launch that Quest 2 had generated five times the number of pre-orders over the original, so Quest 2 was well positioned to be a hit. Granted, it’s been a captured market, with stay-at-home orders affecting many people, however Bosworth says the company is also focusing on providing work-from-home solutions to help fill in the obvious gaps.

“This is the year we take steps to make immersive experiences more social with Facebook Horizon,” he says, referring to the company’s still in-beta social VR platform. “And as the office concept evolves, we’re building out our capacity for meaningful social presence in virtual work spaces”

What does 2021 hold for Facebook? Outside of eventually releasing Horizon for regular users, it’s hard to tell. We know the company is gearing up to one day deliver AR glasses thanks to its research done via Project Aria, a sensor-rich pair of glasses which the company will use to train its AR perception systems and asses public perception of the technology That’s not likely happening any time soon though, so we’re interested to see just where the company goes in the meantime.

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    Interesting that he compares it to the first Quest, considering at that point the Quest 1 was a standalone headset only with a library of ten games and they sold two headsets, not one, so it’s more useful to know about Rift S plus Quest numbers. I didn’t even know the first quest had pre orders.

    This does sound a bit odd though, it seems like it’s partly a matter of low retention on Quest 1 and being two weeks out from Christmas. Sort of like cherry picking.

    • Matthew Lake

      It’s been said that Quest 1 had a high retention rate, higher than GO and Rift. People were using it more like a console. I think it was Carmack who said that, but not sure.

      It’s not really surprising if you look at the interest (see attached image) and keywords related to “intent to purchase” on Google trends.. i.e product + store name.

      Quest has had more interest in the past few weeks than the entire history of PSVR that went on to sell 6+ million over 4 years. Easy to see that FB will have sold 10 Million Quests by 2023.
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dc778fed8c2e7f5442d4c34b35b80cbd2204e3afedabffd38ae16fb814d4120b.jpg

      • Blaexe

        That’s not the right way to use Google Trends. You’re asking about the precise term “Oculus Quest” and “PSVR”. But you want the whole topic. Then it looks like this:

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b22f45121dd14d6541ec451693c20af419a5618f8921ff866845f47bc7229d04.png

        • Matthew Lake

          Interested in people searching for the exact product not the whole topic which can be quite broad. Using search terms is not a ‘wrong way’ to do this.

          Also, looking at search terms that show buying intent, it shows a similar story.

          These are good signals that Quest is going to be far more popular and in demand than PSVR (the fasted selling headset prior to Quest). Nothing wrong with that, it’s good for VR.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/76933296ce1705a437855e3c067217f3ce143cb158ea362ea39bc8f8595bc5a5.jpg

          • Blaexe

            Yes, it’s “the wrong way” because the outcome is misleading. “PSVR” is not even the real term, it’s “Playstation VR”. You’re comparing apples to oranges, I’m comparing apples to apples. And my graph is significantly closer to the real deal.

            Or do you actually think Quest was 5x more popular than PSVR ever was? My graph includes every google search that deals with the topic of Quest and PSVR, not only the exact terms.

          • Matthew Lake

            Use “PlayStation VR” and “Oculus Quest” search terms and it shows a similar thing (PSVR is probably a more popular search term).

            Well, I disagree for the reasons I already stated. The topic is too broad. The comparison I did is a fair one as it deals with only the HMD itself, not games, peripherals, or whatever.

            And as I just showed you, there are good indicators that people are searching more with keywords relating to buying intent (product + store) for Quest far more than PSVR.

            FB probably had 2 Million manufactured for the holiday and Quest was completely sold out. They’ll be manufacturing around 3.5 Million per year. Let’s say they sold about 1.5 Million Quest 1’s.

            My prediction is that they’ll be at 10+ million units sold by 2023.

            Sometime in…

            2023 = 10M
            2024 = 20M
            2025 = 40M

            Why do you think it’s so hard to believe that a completely standalone device that doesn’t require a console won’t be selling like crazy?

            Things have changed. You must be blind if you’ve not felt or seen the change.

            I’ve been bugging my friends to buy a VR headset for 4 years and they never did. I gave up asking a year ago.

            Many of them have now just bought a Quest 2. I hear this over and over again with other people as well. A lot of people are now getting into VR because of Quest.

            It’s not just for gamers either. So it’s going to sell much better than PSVR.

            I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony is looking at the success of Quest and thinking about doing a hybrid device similar to it.

            VR will be mainstream in 2 years.

          • Blaexe

            You didn’t answer my simple question that breaks your whole argument: Do you think that Quest was actually 5x as popular than PSVR at the most popular time ever?

            And no, VR will not be mainstream if you define mainstream as “console level”. Take a look at PS5 and Switch numbers. And keep in mind PS5 was basically backordered within minutes.

          • cleaverboy

            i haven’t heard a single good thing about PSVR, while friends with quest 2 are raving about it. so yeah, i believe it.

          • Matthew Lake

            Yes, Quest could easily be 5x more popular than PSVR but I can’t give an exact number. But it is and will be in demand more than PSVR. And it will sell more.

            PSVR is a HMD that connects to a console, its market is far more limited than an Oculus Quest 2.

            VR growth will be exponential and it will be much bigger than consoles gaming.

            Sony’s best option (imo) if they are serious about getting VR out to the masses is to create a hybrid device like the Quest. Then upsell the PS5 console to VR users for a “better experience”. Assuming they could keep costs down on the HMD like FB.

            I’m obviously not saying Quest or any kind of VR is more popular than these consoles right now. But it will be sooner than most people think.

          • Ad

            “PSVR is a HMD that connects to a console, its market is far more limited than an Oculus Quest 2.”

            You’re ignoring the fact that owning a console of PC is itself a filtering method. Someone who owns those things is more likely to want and consistently use VR. I do think the Quest 2 will outsell the PSVR, although that’s not saying that much considering at most a quarter of the best VR games are on PSVR and it’s such a compromised experience.

          • fragments_of_a_hologram_rose

            “VR will be mainstream in 2 years.”

            Good luck with that…

          • Matthew Lake

            VR growth will be exponential. PSVR numbers was roughly doubling each year (at least up until early 2020). Steam VR connected users doubling reach year. I expect the same with Quest to sell more than PSVR in half the time it took.

            I’m not the only one who thinks this. Someone better qualified and knows more is John Riccitiello, CEO of Unity. He says VR will be mainstream by 2023.

            Former EA CEO Riccitiello on the Latest Trends in Gaming
            https://youtu.be/UZz7evoPfXw?t=242

            Just look around at what’s changed. It’s not just the same kind of people getting into VR anymore. Look in the FB VR groups: whole families are buying Quests. One person in the family buying a Quest and then the others wanting and buying one.

            It’s obvious more women are getting into it. A lot of older adults that aren’t gamers are buying a Quest.

            Quest 2 is portable, it sells itself when people try it. This is why it will take off so much faster than anything connected to a PC or a console.

            An interesting statistic from Jesse Schelle: “For everyone copy we sell of our VR game on PC, we sell 10 on Quest”.

            This was in the summer before the release of Quest 2.

          • fragments_of_a_hologram_rose

            You know why VR isn’t more popular?

            The hard truth (outside of VR enthusiasm) it’s just not that compelling. It’s competing for leisure dollars and eyeball time against well established, highly funded entertainment industries

            Gabe Newell’s comment that he couldn’t think of any VR content compelling enough to cause millions of people to change their home computing; well he wasn’t wrong.

            And don’t get me wrong, the technology is fascinating since I first tried in 1991, but it’s not ready for “the mainstream” by any means.

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            One benefit is that people don’t need to upgrade their PCs or consoles for VR, they’ll upgrade them for other reasons and realize they can use VR. I think the issue is that there are so many uses for VR, but actually making them real with software takes time we don’t have, money we don’t have, interest/manpower valve doesn’t have, and design principles and sense that facebook doesn’t have.

          • Jonathan Winters III

            That was a years ago quote by Newell, way before tons of great titles have been released for VR. You say it’s not compelling? You certainly haven’t tried an Oculus Quest 2.

          • Ad

            Which games of schelles? Also you need to consider that the quest being an impulse buy also makes it a toy. Like the Wii, they’ll buy it, get their fun, and then put it away. They have no interest in joining a cult like tech community.

          • Matthew Lake

            He didn’t say which games. But no, I don’t think that will be the case with VR, especially as the friction is much less now with Quest 2 and future headsets like it will be even better.

          • Ad

            VR is nothing like this fantasy you cooked up.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            Why do you think it’s so hard to believe that a completely standalone device that doesn’t require a console won’t be selling like crazy?

            We had pretty much the same discussion almost exactly two years ago in the discussion for “2018 Ends With a Record Number of VR Headsets on Steam” (~0.8%). Your argument was exactly the same and you predicted a doubling of the VR user share among Steam users every year, reaching 4% in December 2020 (and 32% in 2023).

            The Steam survey for December 2020 lists “1.7% Steam users with VR Headsets”, which is actually a drop of 0.26% from the previous month, and much of the growth being a single jump due to Half-Life: Alyx. So you were obviously wrong.

            The question isn’t why it is so hard to believe that a completely standalone device that doesn’t require a console won’t be selling like crazy. (Hint: because it is a VR device, and people just aren’t as interested in VR as we expected them to be.) The question is why you still expect any kind of exponential growth in VR, when all the hard numbers available show a moderate, linear growth at best.

            Sony is still the only player that dared to release absolute numbers, Facebook only compares to its previous products, which quite obviously didn’t sell a lot. So being “better” doesn’t say much, and even the quoted USD 150M in revenue is pretty much useless, as we don’t know if any games outside of Beat Saber, Super Hot, Job Simulator and a few others make any money. For all we know the new record of active monthly users could be based almost completely on Beat Saber, meaning the Quest isn’t really used as a VR device, but only as a Beat Saber console.

            This would severely limit any growth potential, as almost nobody besides Facebook could develop for Quest 2 without losing money. Without any hard numbers, everything is speculation, and you just pick some numbers you like and extrapolate them without any historical evidence, or actually contradicting the data we have. Maybe consider that Facebook would most likely publish absolute numbers if the numbers were actually impressive.

          • Matthew Lake

            I probably wasn’t factoring in the growth of steam users itself where absolute user numbers would have probably been a better metric to use. Which is following an exponential curve.

            Let’s see the numbers for steam in the Jan and Feb surveys when people learn how to connect their Quest 2 to steam.

            People are interested in a ‘VR device’. Here’s what the issue has been for the past few years:

            People who are most interested in VR (younger kids and teens) have the most interest in VR – they watch their favorite YouTubers playing VR all the time but they themselves could not afford a VR headset for years because of price of the PC/Console + expensive VR headset. But they want it.

            People who have the most money are older adults who weren’t particularly interested in VR but could afford it.

            With the release of Quest 2, this completely changes things. A Quest 2 is now a viable Christmas present or something a lot of people can afford.

            Yes, respect to Sony for doing that. I hope that Facebook also follows them in releasing numbers. I suspect they will once they get to their 10 Million user base. Which as I said, my prediction is 2023 for that.

            Should be long before we see the next steam hardware survey and some data. And FB Q4 earnings call.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            The number of VR users (which is now millions) is following an exponential curve.

            Repeating your wishful thinking doesn’t make it true. You do not have any hard numbers that would allow to quantify or extrapolate any type of growth. You don’t know how many Quest 1/2 were sold. There are certainly selling more Quest 2 than Quest 1 and it is pretty safe to say that the Quest 2 will become the most popular VR HMD, so it is getting better. But there is no factual base for your claim of exponential growth.

            People are interested in a ‘VR device’

            I really, really, really hope that you are right. For one I have made a pretty big career bet on the success of VR. And I think that VR is a spectacular medium with a still mostly unexplored potential. But there are a number of indicators that it is still not ready yet.

            VR fans have been arguing for years that the lack of interest is due to technical limitations/lack of software that will soon be solved, which will then cause the VR user numbers to explode. Just a few:

            Resolution: 1280*800 (DK1) -> 1920*1080 (DK2) -> 2160*1200 (CV1) -> 2880*1600 (Quest 1) -> 3664*1920 (Quest 2) -> 4320*2160 (Reverb G2)

            Tracking: 3DoF head (DK1) -> 6 DoF head seated (DK2) -> 6 DoF room scale head/hands wired with external camera (CV1) -> 6DoF room scale head/hands wireless standalone (Quest 1/2) -> 6DoF multi-room head/hands/finger/hip/leg wireless with Vive Pro, wireless adapter, Vive trackers and Index controllers

            Price: about USD 2.5K for 2016 gaming PC plus HTC Vive -> USD 1.5K for PC with CV1 summer bundle 2017 -> USD 1000 for PC with cheap WMR HMD 2018 -> USD 500 for Quest 1 or USD 150 for Go in 2019 -> USD 300 for Quest 2

            The leaps have been huge, ergonomics, usability and software have also improved a lot, and today VR is fully usable for most people. You argue that this time the price is low enough to finally trigger the VR revolution, but there may be still fundamental problems that stop people from using it. You still have to strap a large and heavy plastic box to your face that isolates you from the world, and you have to care enough about immersion to be willing to deal with this.

            Most people simply don’t. Gaming grew like crazy in 2020 due to the pandemic, but for years the main growth has been on phones, the least immersive gaming platform. Mobile gaming now generates more than 50% of all gaming revenue, while it was at “only” 25% just five years ago. VR generates about 0.2% of all gaming revenue. People prefer to play games on tiny screen on phones more expensive than the Quest 1, because it is more convenient, can be used anywhere and needs no extra device. Plus it doesn’t mess up their face/hair/makeup.

            While the price and specs are very important to make VR acceptable, actual adoption also requires convenience and use cases. Convenience is still horrible and will remain so, until we have VR HMDs the size of sunglasses, and so far the dominant use case is gaming, with social gathering and media consumption becoming more of an option. This sets a very hard upper limit for how many people will bother with VR beyond the initial WOW effect.

          • indi01

            that’s true.

            Virtual reality is an incredibly powerful and intimate technology, and for this reason the quality bar is much higher than any other platform to be truly widespread. It needs to be simply perfect.

            it’s not enough for resolution and visual quality to be “usable”: the picture needs to be crystal clear. Same for size and comfort: it needs to feel like you are not wearing anything. Same thing for cameras, performance, input: any annoyance, any fault, the illusion breaks and people put down the device.

            I think lots of progress has been made, but…there’s still a lot left to fix.

          • Ad

            The new GPUs and CPUs mean VR on laptops (with gpus) or budget PCs is firmly a thing now, worth noting. And VR will never exceed AR, the same way that no consumer device will catch up to cell phones.

          • Matthew Lake

            VR headsets are following a similar price-performance curve as cell phones. They’ll be cheap and affordable by almost everyone. VR will have a bigger impact than cell phones on society and will also be used by billions of people.

            And wrt to AR: it’s still far away if you’re talking about glasses that people will want to actually use. And why would someone want to play games in their living room and *always* be in their living room?

          • Ad

            You obviously don’t understand how cellphones became so popular or the costs going into a VR headset. Certain costs will go down, many will not. High comfort, good lenses, etc will keep costs around 350 to 400 dollars, the quest is sold below cost. And no VR will not be for billions of people in this decade, that’s nonsense. Cellphones excel at mundane essential tasks and are the easiest way to do them anywhere. AR slots into that very well, VR doesn’t and never will. Cellphones are not for games, that’s just a side industry of on the go skinner boxes.

          • Matthew Lake

            That was John Carmack who said that in 2019. I guess he doesn’t understand, does he?

          • Ad

            Absolutely, Carmarck doesn’t know what he’s talking about half the time.

          • Ad

            Worth noting that the chinese segment of steam grew a lot this year, now 28%, and steam itself grew. There probably are like 3 million headsets not counting Quests connected to steam.

          • Matthew Lake

            Analysis: Monthly-connected VR Headsets on Steam Pass 2 Million Milestone
            Monthly-connected headsets on Steam are up 94% year-over-yea

            https://www.roadtovr.com/steam-survey-vr-monthly-active-user-2-million-milestone/

          • Christian Schildwaechter
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            1. This is not that logical. The other person is right, software is core to a product taking off obviously and the PSVR did very well on that.

            2. This obviously isn’t good for VR. VR “becoming mainstream” two years early because facebook takes complete control of it is a disaster for VR. And whatever is gained will be lost when glasses come out and all the casual consumers this is aimed at just move to those.

            3. Sony doesn’t care about VR, PSVR was only to strenghten the Playstation brand, a hybrid headset is probably useless to them when they’re combatting gamepass and xcloud.

            4. 40 million is absolutely insane, no one thinks that.

          • Matthew Lake

            FB does think that. You know their goal is 1 billion people in VR, right? That will probably happen in the early 2030s.

          • Ad

            That wasn’t a real thing, that was hype. Oculus was a cult then.

      • Ad

        They didn’t say they’ve outsold the first quest. Honestly I would think there’s less than a million and a half out there. Personally I think this is all vague on purpose. They say something that sounds good and then you assume things that are more interesting. Retention when he said that like 10 months ago likely went down. Again, targeting a more casual market and the novelty wears thin.

        • Matthew Lake

          Of course they’ve outsold the first Quest!

          They surely had a lot of people upgrade their PCVR headset to Quest (like myself), people upgrading from Quest 1 to Quest 2 and a ton of new users.

          Paraphrasing here, but IDC Research Manager said on Twitter in November:

          “In terms of production, 3 Million Quest 2’s manufactured. So FB is well prepared this time.”

          Didn’t you see that Quest 2 was pretty much sold out everywhere over the holidays and back ordered?

          • Ad

            A lot of this was misallocations, they were still on store shelves. I will also say that people replacing their Q1 with a Q2 isn’t a new user, which matters a lot. And they definitely would have told us if they had outsold the Q1.

  • Well, this is a great news for VR!

    • fragments_of_a_hologram_rose

      What’s happening Mr. Skarredghost?

    • Christopher John

      Yeah this isn’t exactly where I want VR to go.. Hopefully we get other competitors to go against Facebook. To have a truly open platform and device that’s Wireless.