The latest update to SteamVR, version 1.18.5, brings improvements to error handling of Oculus Link and Air Link which is meant to improve reliability. The update comes as Quest 2 reaches 31.07% of all VR headsets in use on Steam.

Valve has committed to making Steam a hardware agnostic place for VR headsets, even going so far as actively maintaining the code that makes Oculus headsets work on the platform in the first place. Continuing that work, the company has made improvements in the most recent SteamVR update (v1.18.5) which aim to improve the reliability of players using Quest or Quest 2 with their PC via Oculus Link & Air Link.

“Oculus users will no longer be required to restart SteamVR every time the Oculus runtime needs to reconnect to the HMD. You may still see a slight disruption during reconnection, for example, the Oculus software may prompt you to re-enable Oculus link if appropriate,” the company explains. “To minimize these disruptions, please follow Oculus guidelines for optimal Link and Air Link usage.”

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The patch notes further say that “Connection loss to the HMD is now survivable in many cases.” This could happen especially from Wi-Fi disruptions for Air Link users.

While the patch notes specifically mention “Quest 2 over both wired and Air Link,” it’s our understanding that the improvements should apply to the original Quest as well, which was updated with the Air Link feature last month.

Valve has made steady improvements to SteamVR for Oculus headsets and others alike. Quest 2 has for several months now been the most popular VR headset in use on Steam, and last month it grew its lead even further, now holding 31.07% of the share of headsets on Steam, and 36.30% when including the original Quest, according to the Steam Hardware & Software Survey.

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  • Nicholas

    36 % market share. Maybe there will be big budget pc vr games after all.

    • Errr, no no no no. What it’s saying is that a little over 30% of all VR headsets used on Steam are Quest 2. As of March of this year, the number of VR users is a little over 2%. So that’s over 97% of people NOT using VR.

      • Rogue Transfer

        Actually, the ~2% is only for the active users in a single month, not the cumulative overall VR users, as there’s a fair amount of users that don’t use their headset every month that aren’t counted each month.

        Similarly, the active monthly users for Steam is actually a lot lower than the total Steam users.

  • Suitch

    It is pretty disingenuous to claim Valve is maintaining the code that makes it work as though Oculus should. Valve owns the software in question and wouldn’t let Oculus write it for them even if Oculus wanted to. It simply isn’t an Oculus code base.

    • JakeDunnegan

      You’re missing the point. Valve also doesn’t have to maintain any code, if they wanted Oculus to stay out there in the VR wilderness – and/or leave it up to side modders to hack versions so that they work.

      On the other hand, they see the wisdom of an open environment/store. That more people will buy games there since they can be used on any hardware, and thus Valve will make money off those users. It’s a win/win for Valve and the consumer.

      Oculus customers win b/c they can buy games that will be useable if they want to leave the FB sandlot. Valve wins because they make money on those game sales. FB loses b/c they’re so blind that they try to lock games and users into their own little world, like Apple has done.

      Now that I mention it, it makes me wonder how many VR users are Apple users. ;)

    • benz145

      I think your misunderstanding the way that headset compatibility on Steam works. Many other headset makers (WMR, Pimax, HTC, etc.) build their own runtimes which interface with SteamVR to make their headsets work with the platform.

      https://www.roadtovr.com/without-valve-oculus-headset-play-half-life-alyx-rift-quest/

      I spoke with a source with direct knowledge of the Oculus SteamVR integration who told me that the [Oculus SteamVR] integration is solely the work of Valve. They also said that on multiple occasions Valve offered for Oculus to take over the integration but never received a response.

  • It’s a little hard to believe that the Quest 2 isn’t dominating the numbers more. Are the headsets hard to come by? It’s such a knock-out-of-the-park kind of deal with the Quest 2, I can’t imagine why those numbers are 80% or more. I’m not a fan of Facebook either, but a do-it-all VR headset, that does it all *WELL*, and for only $300, is a STEAL!

    Also, for those who just skim articles and don’t really read them, that 31.07% is for VR users who use the Quest 2. As far as VR vs Pancake, VR users are around 2% of the total gamers online.

    • Anonmon

      Looking at the Steam Hardware Survey, Quest 2 is indeed at 31.07%, with the Rift S another 18.48% (Making Facebook 49.55% of the market, not accounting for the 17.05% Other that includes the CV1 and Quest 1, among things like the Cosmos headsets and Pimax headsets.). That practically puts them at about a little over half of all SteamVR HMD’s. That’s not insignificant by any stretch, but you then have to consider that between the OG Vive (11.24%) and Index (16.68%), that evens out the Valve HMDs (Yes, the OG Vive for all intents and purposes, other than the literal manufacture, is Valve hardware. Not HTC) somewhere not too far off (27.92%) from the Quest 2.
      Between LOTS of people actively not wanting anything to do with Facebook, and the shear number of OG Vives that are still kicking because of things like easily replaceable cables (New cables for the CV1 cost as much or more as the headset is worth used) and the fact that lighthouse hardware is largely intercompatible with new Lighthouse tracked hardware, plus all the headsets filling up that 17.05% Other, it starts to push out what Facebook hardware market share there is, despite the runaway success of the Quest 2.

    • JakeDunnegan

      I agree – it’s a great unit, and even better as they’ve upgraded the base model to 128GB for the $300, AND it can get up to 120hz refresh rates.

      The HUGE downside is a requirement of a facebook account. If it weren’t my real identify, with all my friends and family tied to it (and thus a MASSIVE invasion of privacy) I wouldn’t care. I have no issue creating accounts with game companies.

      But this ain’t that!

      I imagine the reason it’s not QUITE as hot as it could be is Facebook is already selling them as fast as they can make them, and they really haven’t’ even started advertising that much. They are likely also being impacted by the global chip shortage as well.

  • JakeDunnegan

    Good for Valve! See, they see the wisdom of an open platform! Ever since getting my Quest 2, and Facebook “making” me tie my hardware to my real account, I haven’t bought a single game/app on the Oculus store, and never will.

    (I’d already avoided it, but still bought a few exclusives there. Never again.)

    Which means, what with the Steam Summer Sale, I’ve probably already spent more in the Steam store then I did on the Quest 2.

    HA! Take that, Jeff “penny wise and pound foolish” Zuckerberg!

    • Mandemon

      I see someone has falled for “Good Guy Valve”. Why do you think they have this “open” platform? Because they want you to buy games from them. Valve is not doing this because they give a shit about your enjoyment, they are doing this so you buy games from them.

      They are already being sued for anti-competive behavior, for basically forcing devs to sell stuff on their platform.

      • JakeDunnegan

        Well, I mention that in a post below – and I also imply that Valve is making money off of me (e.g. “I’ve spent more on the Steam Summer Sale”).

        I don’t begrudge a company making money. And, there are times when Valve has ticked me off. I’m one of those who think Epic giving away games is not a bad thing.

        Having said that – this is great for any VR user. Steam is an open platform when it comes to VR, which means consumers are not tied to a particular device, which is awesome.

        Finally, I said “Good for Valve” – not “Valve is a good guy” – there’s a difference. And, it IS good for Valve. Making money is inherently good for them.

        I would have also wished that Zuck would have made the Oculus games open for other VR sets. They’ve made it worse with demanding Facebook accounts for the Quest and Quest2. My hope is that with the Airlink they’ve finally realized how people want open stores and open apps.

  • Romulo de Castro

    I only play PCVR and I use the Quest 2 + link. It is perfect in current state. No regrets replacing my Rift S.