Although Quest 2 is a standalone headset, it can also be plugged into a PC to play PC VR games through Oculus PC and Steam. The headset’s holiday success has clearly bled through into the PC VR landscape, as the latest data shows that Quest 2 is now the second most used headset on Steam, with the total number of monthly-connected headsets on the platform reaching a new all-time high of 2.6 million.

Monthly-connected VR Headsets on Steam

Each month Valve collects info from Steam users to determine some baseline statistics about what kind of hardware and software is used by the platform’s population, and to see how things are changing over time, including the use of VR headsets.

The data shared in the survey represents the number of headsets connected to Steam over a given month, so we call the resulting figure ‘monthly-connected headsets’ for clarity; it’s the closest official figure there is to ‘monthly active VR users’ on Steam, with the caveat that it only tells us how many VR headsets were connected, not how many were actually used.

While Valve’s data is a useful way see which headsets are most popular on Steam, the trend of monthly-connected headsets has always been obfuscated because the data is given exclusively as percentages relative to Steam’s population—which itself is an unstated and constantly fluctuating figure.

To demystify the data Road to VR maintains a model, based on the historical survey data along with official data points directly from Valve and Steam, which aims to correct for Steam’s changing population to estimate the actual count—not the percent—of headsets being used on Steam.

Thanks to the holiday surge, monthly-connected headsets on Steam have reached a new all-time high of 2.6 million. This appears to have been partly driven by the holiday success of Quest 2 and the portion of users that are using it as a PC VR headset. This tracks with Facebook’s recent touting of Quest 2 as “one of the hot holiday gifts this year.”

Share of VR Headsets on Steam

Looking past the overall number of monthly-connected headsets on Steam, we see further that Quest 2 has become a major player on the platform, having leapt into the #2 position among the most common headsets on Steam at 17.4%, behind only Rift S at 23.4% (+0.83%).

The jump is meaningful, but not quite as sudden as it might seem. This is the first month that Valve has split Quest 2 into its own category in the data; in the prior months following the launch of Quest 2, it appears that both Quest and Quest 2 were lumped into the same category.

With Quest 2 now getting a dedicated category it looks like Quest lost a lot of share in the last month, but in reality this is due to the reclassification of Quest 2 into its own category. Both headsets likely gained share since the previous month, though Quest 2 clearly saw the bulk of the growth. If lumped together as they were previously, Quest + Quest 2 would have ranked as the most used headset on Steam with a 25% share.

Another interesting bit from the latest data is some growth in Windows Mixed Reality, which gained +0.93% to reach 6.38% of headsets on Steam. That’s a small but notable increase for the category which has been slowly but steadily shrinking for more than a year. The growth is likely driven by the recent launch of HP Reverb G2, the first WMR headset to be released in some time.

Looking above at the graph also reveals another telling trend: the areas of the chart becoming more compressed over time show less dominance by any one headset, meaning that there’s increasingly meaningful choice in headsets among customers.

From a vendor standpoint, however, Facebook is becoming increasingly dominant, with Oculus headsets now holding a combined 56.4% of the share of headsets on Steam.

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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."
  • Kevin White

    The fact that Cosmos even registers on there is a shocker…

  • Christopher John

    Oculus E-waste.

  • NL_VR

    Time for popcorn

  • That part of the pie that belongs to Facebook is impressive

  • Adrian Meredith

    I love the way the chart shows the exact moment HL: Alyx was released. Just goes to show how important good content is.

    • patfish

      The only thing PCVR needs is AAA Content … every year 3-5 big exclusive VR titles and a lot of the PC Gamer will follow us. The sad thing is – I don’t see one of this title on the horizon :-(

  • Rudl Za Vedno

    FB dominating PCVR space is scary… FB might decide to abandon PCVR option altogether with Quest 3 in favor of locking it’s users into their Quest ecosystem. It would be sound business decision from purely financial standpoint as Steam is ‘stealing’ FB’s sales atm. What will happen to PCVR IF Zuck decides to cut oculus link & VD support?

    I don’t see $1K Index/Reverb G2 filling the market gap. I’m afraid PCVR might end up being a niche inside the VR niche supported only by PC ‘prosumer’ enthusiast with deep pockets and simmers willing to spend crazy amount of $$$ for near enterprise level VR hmds while retail PCVR market stagnates with no PCVR AA(A) games on horizon or even die off in worst case scenario. Is anyone else afraid of that?

    • Bob

      Yes Facebook have “killed” VR and the industry will never recover. End of story.
      Now, let’s all move on back to 3D.

      • Lulu Vi Britannia

        Sure, the data clearly shows how Facebook killed VR. No, wait… it actually shows the exact opposite!
        I hate Facebook as much as the next guy, but you guys just sound retarded when you pretend it didn’t pull VR forward.

        • Rudl Za Vedno

          Pull forward… What options besides Q2 do I have as PCVR gamer in 2021? Index and very hard to get Reverb G2. That’s it. I had 10 hmds to choose from in 2018. The only option I have is to pay +800 bucks for G2/Index or abandon my privacy for poorer commpressed image quality via usb in 2021. It’d not call that progress.

          • Zantetsu

            There are many other options you are ignoring just to try to make your point look stronger than it is.

            It’s not clear to me that you’d have more options if the Q2 did not exist.

    • Ad

      I think they won’t end it completely, because that would make new PCVR headsets viable again. But they’ll do everything they can to steer people away from it.

    • jimmy

      death to pcvr

  • Ad

    Looking above at the graph also reveals another telling trend: the areas
    of the chart becoming more compressed over time show less dominance by
    any one headset, meaning that there’s increasingly meaningful choice in
    headsets among customers.

    Definitely doesn’t show that. Pretty much the reverse. There’s the Index and the Quest 2, maybe the Reverb as an afterthought. Most of the headsets in the histogram are discontinued.

    • Sci

      The graph is not about new sales though, its about headset use. The fact that you cant buy an OG Vive or Rift S any more doesnt stop them from being used and thus making up significant percentages of the graph.

      • Ad

        “Choices” means available options.

  • Ad

    I hope no one is throwing away a Vive. I think people don’t realize how valuable the base stations and controllers are.

    • Lulu Vi Britannia

      Vive controllers are absolutely not valuable, they’ve always been shit. As for tracking, Oculus proved inside-out tracking can replace base stations in 99% cases. Base stations are great, but I strongly advise people who own those to try a Quest tracking and see if the inconvenience of base stations are really worth the additional tracking quality (which is not that big).

      • Ad

        Ignoring that weird pile of facebook.

        The base stations are still useful and new ones are expensive. The controllers work as trackers.

        • Mary Perez

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      • Zantetsu

        We like our Vive controllers and prefer them to the Index controllers which we find uncomfortable and hard to use. To each his own.

      • Kevin White

        There really isn’t much inconvenience. There’s lack of portability, sure. But, for example, my buddy installed his basestations on April 6, 2016 — 4.83 years ago, and that took 15-20 minutes and they haven’t been touched since. That isn’t much of a hardship.

        He’s now rocking a 10900K, 3080, Vive Pro with Wireless and Index Controllers in the same space. It’s not portable… but it doesn’t need to be. The space is awesome and works amazingly well. The tracking is still outstanding and controller latency is the lowest I’ve experienced.

      • mirak

        idiot

        • jimmy

          you are the idiot fucking piece of shit valve simp

      • patfish

        Haha …vive/index tracking is by far the best out there. I tried the G2 but could not accept the clear step back in tracking performance – i think i have to wait for the Index 2 :-/

      • care package

        We all know inside/out is going to be the only option whether people want to defend base stations as the cats meow or not.

  • ben dorman

    SteamVR is a big misnomer for Oculus products. Oculus market dominance is far greater. The only reason to load SteamVR is for new games that NEED to be played on SteamVR. Developers are co-releasing on Oculus’s store and users are incentivizes to buy the Oculus version for crossbuy with the Quest stand-alone version. This is like seeing what people are viewing based off Neilson Ratings and not including streaming subscriptions.

    • johann jensson

      Most people don’t want to be locked in the walled garden of Oculus (and lose their games if they close/lose their FB account), so they buy the same games on Steam, if possible.

      At least that’s the common sense. Maybe there are more stupid gamers out there than we think?

      • jimmy

        i dont want be locked in steamvr so YOU ARE WRONG

      • Arno van Wingerde

        I agree… except I do not have a gaming rig, thus buy and play all my games in stand alone mode – so I buy everything from FB.

  • wheeler

    On one hand, Facebook products have been making PCVR more accessible. And at their prices their market share is hardly surprising–FB has been losing a lot of money to hold that position of dominance. If they lose e.g. $50 on each headset, then they need each PCVR user to spend $166 on content before they can simply break even (if they lose $100, then $333, etc etc). While most Quest users don’t use PCVR, many of the pure PCVR users are likely smart enough to avoid spending money on the Oculus store–certainly rarely $333 worth. Even back when FB was supporting PCVR, the reported Oculus store revenues were abysmally low. So that leaves one to wonder what motivation FB has to continue supporting PCVR and subsidizing users that don’t spend enough money on their platform (and basically indirectly subsidizing a competing platform), especially if PCVR continues to double year over year.

    On the other hand, nobody can compete with that price. Others in the PCVR market don’t just have to break even ($350 to $400) but make a profit. If any other PCVR vendor were to make the Quest 2, it would probably cost around $450 to $500. HTC and Microsoft (and its partners, e.g. HP) are now shifting resources away from consumer VR. Other headsets like the LG SteamVR headset and the Samsung one never materialized, quite possibly because they (and others we’ll never know about) were cancelled when it was clear that the only way they could “compete” would be to sell at a loss. This could mean that the growth of other PCVR hardware vendors is being suppressed. I would be more concerned about this if e.g. HTC were actually competent. The only company I could see changing this is Valve with more technology transfers (with e.g. an open SteamVR counterpart to cheaper inside out tracking).

    Valve seems content to let FB subsidize hardware that people use to spend money on their platform. Despite all of the doom and gloom as the industry shifts focus to a larger market (which was always inevitable), PCVR is continuing to grow. The only way I could see this directly hurting Valve is if FB at some point tries to use their dominance as leverage against the platform, e.g. something highly unlikely like unexpectedly pulling the rug out from under them by disabling Other Sources. The indirect negative effects–the “consolization” or “standalonization” of VR–is something PC gaming has dealt with in the past and shouldn’t be an issue long term.

    • TechPassion

      They do not lose anything on Quest 2 hardware. The hardware at such volumes is worth 10 times less than for 1 piece order.

  • gamechanger

    On the “Steam Headset Marketshare” graph, please consider placing HTC Vive Pro close to other HTC headsets and not between Rift S and Quest. That would make it much easier to read IMO.

    • benz145

      Good point, thanks for the feedback!

  • Bumpy

    Assuming reasonable quality, price always wins.

    If the Reverb or Index were priced the same as the Quest2, the sales situation would be totally different.

  • ImperialDynamics

    I’d like to see developers push the capabilities of Quest 2 to its limits. Then PC-based VR will become a thing of the past.

  • JB1968

    Really sad picture of PCVR matket being led (and distorted) by Facebook products.

    • TechPassion

      Yes and no. Quest 2 helps VR to be more than niche of the niches. Those who like high quality gaming will still prefer PC VR

    • jimmy

      loser

  • TechPassion

    Some, I would say many people don’t use SteamVR with their Quest 2 and just use Oculus software and shop. This is not counted. So I think it could be another 500 000 more Quests 2 not registered by SteamVR

  • Cragheart

    8 million users next year?

  • Ricky Grove

    Very interesting VR news which we discuss in our March 4 podcast Completely Machinima at buzzsprout. I agree that there isn’t enough AAA content to drive more people to VR, but I think that is coming. Great article.