The 2021 holiday season was very likely the best yet for the Oculus Quest 2. For the first time ever, holiday search volume in the US for the headset exceeded major gaming consoles like PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox.

The holidays have always been a peak time for VR. As the technology has grown increasingly more affordable and easier to use, it has become a hot gift item thanks to its novelty. The 2021 holiday season however may well have been VR’s biggest moment yet, lead by Quest 2.

For the first time ever this year we’ve seen search volume in the US for a single headset exceed the latest major game consoles.

Above we can see that US search volume for Oculus Quest leapt massively right around Christmas, seemingly in response to many new users opening headsets and then turning to Google to learn more about them.

This was the first time since the release of Quest that searches for any single headset have edged out those for the latest consoles from Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox.

Zooming out on the timeline a bit, to the start of the holiday shopping season, we can see that searches for Oculus Quest similarly spiked around Black Friday, but not nearly enough to eclipse the major game consoles. While the consoles enjoyed the bulk of search volume in general, Christmas day saw Quest searches rocket to the top.

Although it’s an interesting milestone, we certainly can’t use the data to conclude that Quest sold better than the major consoles. While that could be the case, it seems likely that the surge in Quest searches has much to do with it being a relatively new product (and likely the first-ever headset for many), which means lots of ‘new product’ questions to be answered. On the other hand, game consoles are a far more mature product category with users that are less likely to have heaps of questions to be searched for.

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And it’s worth keeping things in perspective. While it’s pretty impressive that there were more people out there searching for Quest this holiday than any time previously, it’s still only about half of the search volume seen for iPhone, even at its peak. Here’s the same chart as above, but with iPhone thrown into the mix.

The big question is how many of the new users brought in during the holidays will stick around for the long haul? VR has always had the ‘wow factor’, but long-term retention is a challenge given the barriers to using a headset compared to, say, sitting down on a couch to play a game console. Will Quest’s biggest holiday yet translate into its biggest year yet in 2022? Only time will tell.

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  • Till Eulenspiegel

    Now would be the worst time to buy the Quest 2, new headsets from Meta, Apple and Sony are coming out this year.

    • Blaexe

      Now is a great time to buy a Quest 2 as there will be nothing else this good at this price point anytime soon.

      Quest 2 is already going mainstream. Fear mongering won’t change that.

      • Till Eulenspiegel

        You are living inside your own bubble if you think VR is mainstream. Unless they solved the comfort issue, VR will never be accepted as a common digital device.

        • Blaexe

          Sales numbers on the level of mainstream consoles is just that: Mainstream for a gaming device.

          • Till Eulenspiegel

            Nintendo Switch has sold 93 million units, that’s mainstream figure. How many Quest 2 was sold?

          • Blaexe

            Switch was released almost 5 years ago. Quest 2 not even 1 1/2 years ago.

            Clearly you just want to argue. Have fun.

          • Till Eulenspiegel

            Then combined Oculus Go, Quest 1 and Quest 2 – how many units sold?

          • Blaexe

            Making the world how you want it to be, huh?

            Mainstream started with Quest 2. It’s selling somewhere between Xbox Series and PS5. These are mainstream consoles. Which means Quest 2 is a mainstream console aswell.

          • Till Eulenspiegel

            What makes you sanctioned Quest 2 as a mainstream device?

            Show to us the sales number that you said is somewhere between those consoles.

          • Blaexe

            There are various estimations and you know that very well.

            We are literally in a news providing evidence for the popularity of Quest 2.

            Seems like you you some kind of personal issue with the popularity of Quest 2, so I’ll cut it here.

          • Till Eulenspiegel

            If you are too embarrassed after finding out the truth, I will paste it here:

            https://www.statista.com/statistics/1249850/oculus-quest-2-units-sold-by-quarter/

            The total sales of Quest 2 is 1.89 million units.

            Xbox is 10 million and PS5 is 15 million.

            https://www.vgchartz.com/article/451990/ps5-vs-xbox-series-xs-sales-comparison-november-2021/

          • ViRGiN

            Lol

          • NL_VR

            Dont take this wrong but i dont think you know what you are talking about.
            And linking to a Paywalled service nice move.

          • Tommy

            Aren’t those numbers from before September?

          • Bullshit. Quest 2 sales numbers are WAAAAY higher than that. But keep trolling, troll.

          • Till Eulenspiegel

            The prove me wrong, show me the numbers.

          • Other than pointing out trolls, I don’t engage them, so no, I won’t do your research for you, troll.

          • Corellianrogue

            Can you even read? “Q4 2020 to Q1 2021” Those are basically the sales numbers for Oculus Quest 2’s first Christmas. It had shipped 10 million a couple of months ago which means it’s likely to have sold well over 10 million by now. There was a huge leap in sales when Resident Evil 4 VR came out, much like there was a huge leap in Xbox Series S & X sales (the sales are combined, they haven’t released separate sales figures) when Halo Infinite came out. Before then Xbox Series S & X were at 8 million.

          • Till Eulenspiegel

            https://www.roadtovr.com/qualcomm-meta-oculus-quest-2-sales/

            10 million is an estimated number (fake marketing number) that came from Qualcomm. If Quest 2 really sold that many units, do you think Meta will not openly declared it? They will informed every publications about that achievement, instead of keeping quiet.

          • Corellianrogue

            How is it a fake marketing number? Qualcomm know the number of Oculus Quest 2’s shipped because they’re involved in its production. But obviously they weren’t supposed to release the numbers so backtracked with “Well, that’s just an estimate, not the actual number.” And even if it is just an estimate it’s going to be pretty close isn’t it? Also, estimates can be lower as well as higher, so if it was just an estimate the real number could have been 11 million. Facebook aren’t necessarily going to disclose sales numbers themselves and even if they are they might have been waiting until after Christmas. Maybe they’ll announce some sales numbers any day now. But it doesn’t change the fact that you used sales numbers from the first 3 months of Oculus Quest 2’s existence (when it was constantly sold out by the way) to try to argue over a year’s worth of total sales, lol!

          • shadow9d9

            A Seventh Generation console in a forty-year-old industry versus a second generation console in a 5-year industry.

        • kontis

          Quest 2 sold more units than Xbox series X and S combined.

          If definition of mainstream for you is iphone, then sure, but then almost nothing in the world is mainstream.

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    • kontis

      – Meta Cambra and Apple VR – probably $1000 headsets.

      – Sony Playstation – ultra closed and tightly controlled platform that will never have the latest, quirky, experimental and popular things like VRchat or Gorilla tag. But if you want to experience some chosen high quality Uncharted 5 cinematic VR scenes? Go for it! Nothing else will give you that.

      • ApocalypseShadow

        Sony PlayStation home consoles. Ultra closed but averages over 115 million in hardware sales. Nothing to sneeze at and ignore.

        You keep mentioning unfinished, experimental and quirky early access games but seem to forget that *DREAMS* does that already for PSVR and will be there for Sony’s next headset. And be free to play for those that own Dreams. And there’s nothing stopping Sony from adding VR Chat or creating their own like they did with Home.

        You’re right. Most of these headsets can’t compete with Facebook’s *price dumping.* But headsets like NGVR will make a dent where it counts and make Quest 2’s PS2 level games look old compared to better haptics, better 3D sound, SSD speed and game development and a first party with a higher pedigree than the one hit wonders Facebook bought. With an almost guaranteed exclusive Spider-Man game after Sony’s movie made a quick billion.

        It’s not so simple to think an already outdated standalone will compete with future products like PSVR couldn’t. Facebook will need to keep releasing newer headsets just to keep up. With the possibility again that the old ones can’t play the new games like GO with Quest. And Quest With Quest 2 games like RE4.

    • sfmike

      The steaming turd actually announces you as a negative troll better than you can imagine.

    • Jonathan Winters III

      Troll much? There’s no bubble to burst. Quest is a viable and profitable platform that’s not going anywhere, no matter how hard you try to make your pessimistic dream come true.

    • Rayza

      total nonsense

  • Daniel Lingard Leaper

    Although I don’t totally agree with some of the arguments here I would say this, if I was to guess I’d say for every 10 new VR users after 6 months 1 is still using it on anything like a regular basis. Quoting sales doesn’t really mean that much likewise with internet searches. I mean I’ve searched a lot for things to do with quest but I would barely ever search for things related to a new xbox or PlayStation………because there’s no need. Estimated sales of Quest look good but the reality is that doesnt really tell the whole story. I love VR & use it numerous times a week, I’ve picked up a decent size of added friends in VR & what I see from that is 90% of those friends are never online……like ever! VR will always have a following & it will grow but I think the future of it is perhaps a little over estimated by some people. From my own experience of trying to get people in VR (and lets face it VR people are its biggest pushers) you cant make someone want it, some people just have no time for it and never will. It’s not comfort, its not graphics…..its just not their thing and never will be.

    • Holdup

      Get something as small and light as a normal pair of sunglass with human retina resolution, 200 degree field of view, launch the movie theater app then hand it over to a vr critic and tell me they won’t see the potential

      • FrankB

        Long way off.

        • Holdup

          It’s coming tho that’s the ultimate vr potential

      • ViRGiN

        People are already mostly convinced about vr – the tech is great, just software is lacking, no matter if you spend 300, or 3000. Money doesn’t limit the experience – software does

        • Holdup

          Today’s vr headset are like Rotary dial up phones, cool tech but still got away improvement to reach mobile smartphone status

          • ViRGiN

            And once they are mobile smartphone status, they will have to get to smartwatch factor. It’s never ending goal. Thing is, the software sucks and that’s all.

          • Holdup

            It’s almost mandatory to have a phone in todays world I honestly don’t know any functioning adult that doesn’t have a phone. Today I can only count on one hand the amount of people I know with a vr headset, when I was a kid Only wealthy early adopters had phones around me

          • ViRGiN

            Of course it does – but between rotary phone, and wireless landline connection – there was no game changer. It still did it’s job. However with pcvr, despite unlimited power, there are no games to take advantage of it

          • Holdup

            On rotary phone the operator would answer, ask for the destination of the call and ‘patch’ them through.
            As you can imagine, this was far from an efficient system. But the
            military and emergency services always had priority of this network. this meant civilians might have to wait as much as 2 hours to be connected.

          • Holdup

            And today smartphone is a long way from a rotary phone

        • Rayza

          the game lineup has been beyond awful for too long now, i love VR there’s just next to nothing i want to play beyond fitness apps. Hopefully PlayStation VR2 brings a load of quality games with it.

      • Daniel Lingard Leaper

        Yeah that obviously makes a difference but what you’re forgetting there is 200 degree FOV is great……..if your stomach can handle it! There’s not just an interest level that holds it back but individuals ability to use the ‘better version’ unless they come up with a magic way of stopping peoples brains telling them something isn’t right increased FOV is actually not a positive thing for the masses. I’ve had people tell me they would like VR if you took the games they play now and just made it VR, but that’s not possible for most as you cant make them as fast paced otherwise it would cause sickness. So there will always be a difference between a 2D game & VR. You cant do flips, spins and numerous other mad movements at super human speeds, it has to be tailored for VR. I want GTA in VR, just take GTA & put it in VR, but you can’t because flipping a car 10 times while in VR ain’t good lol.
        And yes I see what ya saying about the movie side of things & I do think once the size & weight are greatly reduced it will become far more ubiquitous. I mean you’re preaching to the choir with me, I’m balls deep! But it is interesting how so many people just aren’t, I don’t get it because I love it but what I’ve learnt is not everybody does and that’s fine.
        It interests me because I remember when 3D TV’s came about, I loved it I thought it would be how most movies would be going forward, but now its gone, why? If I was to ask someone if seeing something in 3D is better than flat I’m sure they’d say it was but nobody cares about it anymore, why? why did we go back to 2D. I’ve seen people are making volumetric captured movies now, even better version of 3D, will that take over…..no, why, I think because people don’t want to be in the movie, people don’t want to be in the game, they want that separation, that is happening there and I’m here & for whatever psychological reasons most people prefer that option.

        • Holdup

          Yes they would’ve to solve locomotions if they want to make games other than beat saber boxing and other exercise stuff, otherwise the vr holy grail sunglasses farm factor will become a virtual monitor for work and media

        • Arno van Wingerde

          Hm, I do not agree that motion sickness is the main obstacle to more universal VR acceptance. Sure, it is for some applications, your GTA is a great example, but apart from most people getting used to VR eventually there are many more games that do not require you to flip around like a flee on drugs. Puzzle solving, exploring kind of games.
          Also for 3D TV: I loved and love Avatar and it is the only movie I have actually watched on Quest. The limited resolution for 2D movies and the hassle of a VR headset are simply not worth it IMHO.
          I feel the main thing holding back VR and the cause of the demise of 3D TV is similar: content!
          For 3D movies: yes Avatar is great, now ask people on the street if they can name even a single other 3D movies… I bet you most people outside forums like these will not be able to mention even a single one!
          Many of the games hyped in Road to VR wouldn’t even qualify as demos in the 2D world.
          Also: I am older and not a very good player: in most VR games I only see the first part, because I get killed in about 0.3 seconds the moment I go to the next part.
          Why is there no easy/advanced/master/crazy setting with fewer of slower opponents like in normal games: you could play the whole game in a setting suitable to your abilities, then see if you can mange at higher settings.

    • sfmike

      The problem is it’s the financial investment people that push up the usage figures as they are trying to raise money from clueless investors with their starry-eyed promises of billions in profit in a couple quarters and when that doesn’t pan out, as it usually doesn’t, we’re left with another wave of developers going bankrupt and disappointed consumers.

    • shadow9d9

      The reality is that software on the quest sell 10 times as much as their PCVR equivalent.

    • Rayza

      most people said computers weren’t their thing, the internet wasn’t their thing etc – if it becomes popular enough the masses will jump on the bandwagon like with everything else

  • Jonathan Winters III

    Not sure why you’re comparing it to searches for iPhone? That’s not the important or even relevant comparison – it’s other gaming devices that you mentioned that matter.

  • I think this is a great article, that underlines all possible caveats. But everything considered in the mix, this is still huge news for XR