According to the latest figures from Valve’s Hardware & Software Survey, the Oculus Rift has set a new record for its highest historical market share on Steam, almost certainly driven by a major sale which has also brought the headset its largest ever share increase from one month to the next. While the HTC Vive continues to hold the majority share, the Rift is approaching striking distance.

Steam is the de facto content platform for the HTC Vive though it technically supports the Rift too; plenty of Rifters use both the official Oculus Home platform and Steam to play content which may not be available on the opposing platform.

10 Oculus Exclusives HTC Vive Owners Should Play Using Revive Hack

Each month, Valve runs a survey among Steam users to determine some baseline statistics about what kind of hardware and software is used by the user population, and to see how things are changing over time; that includes which VR headsets are connected to users’ computers.

The latest results show a major gain of 8.1% in the Rift’s share of VR headsets on Steam, bringing the device’s overall share to its highest point ever, reaching 43.8% of all headsets in use on the platform.

The gain was made up mostly by a 7.7% reduction in Vive share and the remaining 0.4% from a reduction in the Rift DK2 development kit. The latter, launched in 2014, still holds 3.9% total share of VR headsets in use on Steam. With Steam as its primary content platform, the Vive naturally holds onto the majority share at 52.3% of all VR headsets on the platform, though at 43.8%, the Rift is approaching striking distance.

See Also: SteamVR Will Support Windows VR Headsets

Exactly how many Rift users use Steam among the total population of Rift users is unknown, making it largely futile to extrapolate the data in an effort to determine headset market share across all platforms. However, many analyst estimates put the Vive ahead of the Rift in total sales.

The 8.1% gain, the largest ever for the Rift on Steam, was almost certainly driven by the ‘Summer of Rift’ sale which reduced the price of the Rift & Touch controllers from $600 to $400. When the sale ends after September 4th, the non-sale price for a new all-in-one Rift & Touch bundle will be $500. A portion of the gains may have been made up not by new headsets entering the market, but by more Rift users becoming aware of Steam’s compatibility with the Rift. Another contributor could be the expansion of HTC’s Viveport app store and the Viveport subscription service, potentially drawing some Vive users away from Steam.

While the Rift has enjoyed significant buzz surrounding its lengthy sale, HTC recently brought a major price cut to Vive, setting its new baseline price at $600 (previously $800). HTC said the price cut was not a reaction to the Rift sale.

Windows VR Headsets Can Play Oculus Exclusive Games via Revive

While the Rift and Vive fight it out on Steam, new competitors are soon to complicate the binary battle. The Windows VR headsets are due to launch starting in October at $400, and Microsoft has confirmed that they’ll be compatible with SteamVR content.

Newsletter graphic

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. More information.

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."
  • NooYawker

    Does anyone who uses a rift not use steam as well? I find it unlikely but it is possible.

    • Caven

      It seems like that would have to be a tiny demographic, right there with the people who are interested in VR headsets, but somehow don’t have that “expensive PC” all the journalists keep reminding everyone about.

      • dogbite

        Many of those probably have a cpu to run Rift, Vive or what’s coming in new hmds. They, likely, need a good enough gpu. Since Rift and Vive are now half the price they were a year ago and a VR capable gpu is also about half the price, I suspect we could see substantial growth in the VR over the next year.


      I never use Steam. Not that I have anything against it. I bought a gaming PC to use Rift, specifically. I’m not a PC gamer, always used consoles. Oculus Home boots up as soon as you put on Rift. It’s frictionless to just stay in Oculus Home.

    • GigaSora

      Id actually be surprised if the majority of Rift owners use Steam. As said below, Oculus Home is super fluid. Plus all the good games are on Oculus home (and probably steam also, but might as well get them on home).

      • Caven

        Rift users may not necessarily use SteamVR in great numbers, but I’d be really surprised if the majority of Rift users have never used Steam to play a non-VR game. Steam has huge market share when it comes to traditional games, and I seriously doubt that there’s only a small overlap between people interested in the Oculus Rift and people interested in video games.

        For tracking purposes, I suspect (and this is admittedly pure speculation) that the Steam hardware survey captures a lot of the Rifts that are actually installed, though it would make sense for Rift users to rely primarily on Oculus home for VR software.

    • Tommel

      I use Steam every now and then but not on a regular basis. Some of the Indie games are fun to play on Steam, for instance Onward or Pavlov. I would say it’s 90% Oculus and 10% Steam. I still don’t get if only those users count who actively use Steam VR with a Rift or if it’s already sufficient to only start steam while having a Rift installed. For example, I am using Steam a lot for non VR games.

      • NooYawker

        I would imagine you would count, if they didn’t count you then they’re purposely trying to skew the numbers.

      • ShiftyInc

        Just having the Rift installed won’t count. You have to have it active and Steam for it to register.

        • flamaest

          This is correct, I could not install the Oculus software because my computer is not powerful enough. So I do not count. I am building a new machine to be able to get everything running.

    • OkinKun

      I know a few people, who weren’t traditional gamers, but bought a PC and a Rift just for VR, and they’ve only used the Oculus Store so far.. I’m sure eventually they’ll get into Steam, but so far Oculus Home has been easy and has great VR stuff, so they haven’t seen the need to get used to using steam yet.. lol

    • care package

      I don’t use it. There are lots I’m sure, those that just see Oculus Home as THE place to buy software for it. I buy all my 2d games from Steam, but no VR.

      • NooYawker

        I get that but wouldn’t steam recognize you as an oculus user? If not they should. If they want accurate numbers that is.

        • care package

          If they are counted that way then it would be ‘more’ accurate, but if you need to have a Rift on when Steam is on when they ‘initiate’ the survey, then we all know where the sales advantage clearly is.

  • Jonathan

    Great. Now give us a way to select headset in steam.

  • BillyBumbler

    What about the percentage of people who don’t participate in those HW surveys?

    • Ethan James Trombley

      Everyone participates, it monitors your usage. It’s part of downloading steam that you have to agree to.

      • Blaexe

        The more you use Steam, the more likely you get into the survey (in which NOT everyone participates, just a sample). There is also a unknown number of Rifter who don’t use SteamVR.

        • ✨EnkrowX✨

          I’m one of those rifters. I have no reason to use steam at all.

      • Mario-Galouzeau de Bocsa

        I received and completed the survey, 1 year after buying an Oculus, and using Steam VR on weekly basis. I have no idea if those results are reliable. I guess they reflect market, but with a margin of error.

      • Jesper R

        Not everyone participates.
        I have a Rift, but I disconnect it, when not using it, since it gets hot when its connected. Last time I was in the steam survey, it said I had no Rift, so it must mean it only detects the rift when it is actually connected.
        I suspect a lot of Rift users discovered that it gets hot and have i disconnected when not using it.

        • NooYawker

          I used to put my vive back in the box when I wasn’t using it until I noticed it was warm when I did that. I just leave it out and it’s fine. Do you put your rift in a closed space?

        • CazCore

          mine stays cool. just felt it up now. totally cool

          • Jesper R

            Ok – since you asked The full story is this :)…

            I ordered one from day one, so the hardware is from the early batches. They might make it a lot better now, 1.5+ years later.

            When I had it in the USB it got hot, not burning hot and it took some hours to get hot, but hot enough that I don’t think it is good for it to stay like this for weeks.

            To get rid of the cord, I bought an extension and mounted it in the ceiling attached to 5 wires, which means when I bend a knee it gives more cord and when I stand up or jump it retracts the cord. Works like a charm, I can’t see the use for wireless after I got that setup as I don’t feel the wire anyways.

            The thing with the heating though is that NOW when I hang it from the ceiling, I have to keep a piece of cloth on top of it or dust will cover the lenses, which means the headset sensor thinks it is always and it turns on the screen. That of course mean I have to turn it off to not get burn ins and what not, but that is an entirely different reason to turn it off, than I first had.

            They might very well have improved the hardware since my batch, or made a software update since, so you are right it can be cool now. I just still have to turn it off until we get a software switch where I can turn it off.

    • care package

      Or the percentage (as the article sort of suggests) of Rift users that just don’t play games on Steam. I’m well aware of steam and play all my 2D games through it, but no VR. Let’s face it, many are just going to see Oculus home as THE place to buy the software for it.

      • AndyP

        I have Rift but prefer to buy games from Steam because you can get your money back if you don’t like the game. Keep the games you like, and (re)spend the money on others – so you can’t lose with Steam. I wish Oculus would do the same.

      • Caven

        Unless you’re suggesting that the Rift users who don’t use Steam are somehow racking up negative purchases, I don’t see what your point is. The article’s headline (which is supported by the Steam data) is “Rift Summer Sale Drives Record Gains, Highest Steam Market Share Yet”. Wouldn’t Rift users who don’t use Steam contribute to those “record gains” (though not Steam market share, of course)? The difference is that guessing about Rift headsets not tracked by Steam is purely speculative, whereas Rift headsets tracked by Steam is not. The market share spike is a pretty big positive for the Rift, and some currently unknowable numbers about Rift headsets not used within Steam isn’t going to change that.

        • care package

          wth?…….Hey you just might be right

  • Ethan James Trombley

    Have a Vive, but tempted to get a Rift at 400 as well.

    • dk

      that sale will be over on the 5th ….after that it’s 500 + 60 for a 3rd camera

    • Suitch

      You won’t regret it! I have both and love my Rift. The touch controllers are just fantastic! I can’t wait for the Knuckles to come out as well, but the Rift is just top-notch once you have the third sensor.

    • polysix

      I had vive and didn’t like it, I bought rift I LOVE it. It saved gen 1 vr for me. It’s so much better it’s not even funny. The clarity of graphics alone is worth it, let alone the built in phones, better controllers and much better comfort/ergonomics! I hated the front heavy VIVE and awful strap that was never right, the bad SDE, the blurry edges etc.. all fine on rift and cheaper.

      • Ethan James Trombley

        The deluxe audio strap fixes all the comfort issues for me. As far as the Graphics and clarity go, I don’t notice a massive difference. I mean the Rift seems to be a touch more clear but also a bit more tunnel visiony as well, only noticeable when comparing the two directly though.

    • NooYawker

      Do you have a second computer? If not you’ll need a lot of USB ports to have both running off of the same computer.

      • doug

        Vive only uses one, and you can just unplug it when you are not using it.

    • Ethan James Trombley

      Update: Dropped my computer today, sooooo the Rift ended up being a no go. Had to spend about $500 on repairs :( At least my 1080ti didn’t get rekt. Either way Rift is out of the picture for now.

  • Great that adoption is rising!

  • Luke

    I got Oculus Bundle at summer’s sale and I use Steam VR a lot. probably often that Oculus Home.

  • bschuler

    Meh, I almost joined the Rift numbers by getting an X-mas gift early for someone.. so glad I held out now that the Vive lowered it’s price. Not that the Rift is horrible or what not, I just really prefer the SteamVR eco-system and it’s openness to expansion through add-ons.

    • polysix

      Rift is much, much better than vive. Trust me I’ve had them all (Vive and PSVR included) and a DK2. You are being an absolute fool to believe the vive hype when a cheaper but MUCH better product is sitting there for you. Steam VR is crud btw.. janky AF vs home. Everyone gave up on that ‘morals’ thing once rift hit $400. You’ve been a fool mate. Seriously. Vive isn’t even worth what it is reduced to now. I sold mine for £1200 after buying it at launch. I paid £700 or thereabouts back in pre-order 2016. Couldn’t get rid fast enough, bad comfort, awful SDE, stupid controls, silly trackpads.. awful weight, daft cable, bad black levels, poor sweet spot and buggy steam VR. The only thing good about it is the tracking, rift has good tracking now and everything else is better there. Everyone knows this so ‘meh’ all you like, you are seriously losing out on the superior system. Rift I can wear for hours, it looks super sharp/clear, massive sweet spot, excellent built in phones, much better controllers. Can always spot a VR noob cos they tend to think vive is better based on year old hype and year old news (before rift had touch and good tracking).

      • NooYawker

        Have you noticed no one even responds to you? Everyone is trying to avoiding fanboys like you. Especially since you’re literally saying exactly the same thing over and over again. I’m just responding to tell you why you’re constantly being ignored. Maybe it’s time to just stop.

      • Tony

        I don’t know about much much better. I own them both and each have their caveats. You really can’t go wrong with either system and rift can be used with steam for most games, and the ecosystem for rift is easy to navigate. Tracking is better with the vive.

      • Donald Bennett-Mace

        You were trolling the same exact story over at UploadVr telling everyone there how much better the Oculus is. Seriously? Do you work for Oculus or are you just that much of a loser fanboy?

    • care package

      I would still wait if I were you for the updated HMD, included integrated headphone addon, and the new knuckle controllers if you lean so much toward Vive. All that will probably bring a package price back up to the original though, so……

  • ShiftyInc

    These percentages are always a shot in the dark. According to a bunch of analysts out there the Rift is now outselling the Vive. Which might also not be true. Just have to wait for some numbers that are accurate.

    • polysix

      of course it’s outselling vive NOW. The human race can be stupid at times but not that stupid. Rift is a no brainer for anyone interested in VR. Best price, best product. (I can say that having owned all three and sold Vive and PSVR). Rift rocks!

  • flamaest

    I believe there is a much larger dormant amount of Rift owners just waiting. I got the rift cuz it was on sale, but I will be building a new computer to use my Rift in November during Black Friday. I suspect a lot of people who bought the rift at that sale price don’t have a lot of money to burn so they are in the same boat. I suspect for the remainder of 2017 the rift will surpass the vive.

    • polysix

      exactly – and xmas presents from parents for teens who’ve been begging.

    • M Rob

      I think the the recent price drop in Vive and the more attractive accessories will counteract the trend.

      • PrymeFactor

        Anyone who hasn’t jumped in on the Vive yet is most likely not a VR fanatic. And such a person is much more likely to have sprung for a Rift at $399, a full $200 cheaper than the Vive.

  • polysix

    also, bear in mind many parents would have bought it in the sale for Xmas presents so those rifts won’t be showing yet on Steam (let alone the large portion of rifters who’ve not even installed/use steam). Looks very good for oculus! and good for VR!

  • doug

    Is it even possible for someone to favor Viveport over steam?

    • NooYawker

      Anything is possible. But most vive users don’t even use viveport.

  • Salihoff

    Rift users on Steam will grow because of one main factor – great prices on Steam. Any VR game (non Oculus excluisive ) costs less on Steam. I’m owner of a Rift and I’m pretty amazed of this huge price difference. So I guess more Oculus users becoming aware of that.

  • Kris Bunch

    I am a Rifter and never use Steam for VR. I have installed the SteamVR software. So am I counted in the survey or is it an actual question box that pops up? Also I don’t think I have launched Steam in a month and a half.

    Maybe I am showing my age but you really don’t need an expensive gaming PC. I got a pre-built one for $829 in July that runs Rift just fine. That isn’t very expensive for a gaming rig. 15 years ago I would spend $1200 to $1500 just to build a baseline gaming rig. Sure it will seem expensive to a non-gaming person but if they want VR bad enough they will spend the money. Look at how much people pay for home surround sound or car stereos.

  • PrymeFactor

    “However, many analyst estimates put the Vive ahead of the Rift in total sales”

    Given how close the hardware split is on Steam, when you add in all the Oculus Store only users, I’d be surprised if the Rift hasn’t outsold the Vive now.