It appears that the 2019 holiday shopping season may have been the best ever for PC VR headsets. The latest data released this week from Valve shows VR on Steam making its single biggest leap yet, on a path toward an estimated 2 million monthly-connected headsets.

VR headset growth on Steam has taken its largest leap yet while simultaneously breaking the record set just last month.

That’s according to the January 2020 data released this week from Valve’s Steam Survey. Each month the company 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; that includes which VR headsets are connected to users’ computers. Participation in the survey is optional, and headsets aren’t counted if they aren’t powered on and recognized by Steam at the moment that the data is collected.

Data is captured over the course of the month, which tells us how many headsets were connected to users’ PCs over that time period; we call the resulting figure ‘monthly-connected headsets’ for clarity.

Monthly-connected VR Headsets on Steam

The latest figures from January show the single biggest leap yet in monthly-connected VR headsets on Steam, now with 1.31% (+0.22%) of the population having headsets connected to their computers. With a year-over-year growth of 43%, this beats out the previous record set in January 2019 when monthly-connected headsets jumped by 0.11%, reaching 0.91% for the first time.

January 2020’s data sets a new record high for monthly-connected headsets on Steam, no doubt driven by new headsets released in 2019 combined with the holiday sales season which saw numerous deals across headsets.

When estimating the actual number of headsets by correcting for Steam’s changing population, the figure continues to follow a trend of exponential growth.

By our estimate, the number of monthly-connected headsets on Steam now stands at 1.6 million, an increase of more than 271,000 from the month prior, and a strong step toward the 2.75 million headset milestone which we expect to see at the end of 2020.

Steam VR Headset Marketshare

As for the marketshare of individual headsets on Steam, Rift S had its best month so far. despite the headset having spotty stock availability since the holidays, the Rift S reached 24.34% (+5.88%) of the headsets in use on Steam. That puts the newcomer on track to overtake the leading first-gen headsets: Rift, now at 30.36% (-2.64%), and Vive at 26.91% (-2.84%).

Part of Rift S’ big jump over rivals in January could be partly attributed to Oculus Quest, which can act as a PC VR headset via the Oculus Link feature which was released in mid-November. While Steam itself appears to identify Quest as a Rift S headset, it isn’t clear if the Steam Survey is lumping Quest in with Rift S or not counting it at all.

Oculus Grows its Majority Share Against HTC’s Decline

Though the original Rift gave up some ground to its successor, the collective share of Rift and Rift S grew to an all-time high of 54.7% (+3.24%), while the collective share of Vive, Vive Pro, and Cosmos dropped to 29.52% (-3.06%), continuing a steady decline in the share of HTC headsets on Steam over the last eight months.

Index, which has been starved for stock, grew slightly to 7.22% (+0.55%) and Cosmos to 0.60% (+0.19%), while Windows VR headsets continue a slow decline over the last five months, now down to 8.05% (-0.73%) of the share of headsets used on Steam.

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As ever, it’s worth noting that the Steam Survey only gives us a glimpse of the overall VR market, as it only counts headsets connected to Steam, which means it doesn’t count some portion of Rift users which may not use Steam at all. Other major headsets like PlayStation VR aren’t counted at all.

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  • Immersive Computing

    What about “Disconnected headsets”? (which they can’t measure)

    I’ve owned numerous PCVR headsets since 2016 but never leave connected whilst not using. This includes Oculus and WMR headsets always used with Steam as well as their native platforms.

    In those 3+ years I’ve not taken part in the Steam survey. How many headsets are missed in this way?

    Does this mean (potentially) there is a considerably larger user base going unrecorded?

    • Blaexe

      Does this mean (potentially) there is a considerably larger user base going unrecorded?

      Yes. Market share should be about the same as this affects all headsets and users, but the overall number of VR users is definitely higher.

    • ph34rl3ssL34d3r

      Yes, just look at the Rift S participants.
      The original Rift had been over 50% for many months.
      What these charts really say is this survey reflects mostly new activations.

      • Alextended

        I mean, people with original rift, especially if they invested in a 3rd sensor, don’t really need to upgrade or anything so, it makes sense it still has a large market share. Only Index looks like a worthy upgrade atm and it’s quite pricey when many Rift users got theirs when it was less than half that price. They’ll probably upgrade when a significantly better kit is available for a similar price so it will take a while for that to happen. Maybe Rift S 2, or Quest 2 if they make it just as comfortable as S and natively PC capable rather than streaming a feed over USB, or if Valve makes an Index Lite that has no lighthouse, just hmd cameras, and the controllers don’t have all the crazy sensors, just the basics, to make it significantly cheaper, or if Microsoft finally upgrades the WMR spec to one that has better tracking range to match Rift S so that we see more Odyssey type stuff that can actually compete this time, or if HTC somehow fixes a Cosmos 2 etc.

  • Blaexe

    While Steam itself appears to identify Quest as a Rift S headset, it
    isn’t clear if the Steam Survey is lumping Quest in with Rift S or not
    counting it at all.

    It actually is clear. There is a statement from Valve regarding this and every user so far has reported that Quest shows “No headset connected”

    • Marline

      It has been one yr since I chose to leave my old boring project and I couldn’t be more happy now… I started to function in my house, for this particular company I stumbled upon online, pay-check I got for last month was for $9k… I could spend time with my family without stressing over my job and can plan out for holiday getaway. LEARN MORE >>>

  • M Rob

    I’m interested to see the jump when the Valve Index becomes available again.

  • NooYawker

    The Index would be higher if anyone could buy them.

    • namekuseijin

      give me the money and I’ll buy one

  • Great news! The holiday season has been great!

  • Way2fast20

    If I was steam I would post all over the internet that for a trial period of like 1 week or so that we would need everyone with a VR headset to log in at least once during that week. So that we can get a more accurate account of how many PCVRs/mixed reality there are out there. I would also classify the quest using link under this as well so we know how many there are of them too. Because these numbers seem really low since stock on a good amount of HMDs are either backordered or out of stock and have been for awhile. Another benefit would be if the adoption rate is high enough it might change the was some of these gaming studios are looking at VR as a platform for new games and take it more serious.

  • Kyokushin

    Its still a niche.