Valve’s monthly Steam hardware and software survey is out again, and it appears HTC Vive is holding firm ground on the platform after Oculus Rift took majority market share in March as the most popular VR headset on Steam.
After a posting strong numbers in April, Rift is now only ahead of Vive, its major competitor, by less than a percentage point. Meanwhile, Windows “Mixed Reality” VR headsets are still a minority, but are gaining ground on the platform, and Oculus Rift DK2 slowly fades at about the same rate.
Each month, Valve runs the 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. Participation in the survey is optional.
VR headsets on the platform now make up 0.72% of of overall users connecting to Steam. Virtual reality usership on the platform is up 0.09% since the penultimate survey.
As for Vive’s pushback, it could be attributed to HTC Vive Pro, the company’s premium VR headset, which is mostly being purchased by professional users at $800 just for the headset; it doesn’t include controllers or SteamVR tracking basestations, an add-on that will cost you $300 if you’re looking to upgrade to the new SteamVR 2.0 tracking standard. As an expensive headset targeted at prosumers, it was bound to have some effect on the overall numbers, but we’re not surprised to see just how little the needle has moved.
Confounding numbers: it’s also possible less Oculus Rift users connected to SteamVR content last month, instead playing games and experiences purchased through the Oculus Store.
That said, Oculus Rift’s $400 all-in price tag, which includes controllers, sensors, and the headset, still represents a better deal over HTC Vive’s $500 all-in price, which includes everything, but still contains the uncomfortable elastic headstrap and no integrated audio—something you can remedy for $100 more with the Deluxe Audio Strap.
Windows “Mixed Reality” VR headsets are seeing an uptick too, which is likely due to competitive pricing among the handful of partner manufacturers. All except the Samsung Odyssey pack in the same specs: two 2.89″, 1,440 x 1,440 resolution LCDs. Samsung’s headset boasts the same resolution (and panel) as Vive Pro, featuring dual 1,440 × 1,600 resolution AMOLEDs. Windows VR headsets can now be had for as low as $200, and have support for many games on the SteamVR platform.
There’s still a contingent of diehard Oculus DK2 owners still playing through Steam. The DK2, which launched in 2014, still holds 1.48% of the total share of VR headsets in use on Steam, a marked decrease from the reported 1.95% earlier this year.
Update (11:30 AM ET): It was previously reported that VR headset usership was 0.33% of overall users, when in fact that number represents only Oculus Rift numbers. Overall usership of VR on Steam is actually 0.72% at the moment. This has been corrected in the body of the article.