It appears that the 2018 holiday shopping season was one of the best ever for PC VR headsets. The latest data released today from Valve shows VR making its single biggest leap yet, on a path toward 1 million monthly-connected headsets.

There’s now more Steam users with VR headsets connected to their PCs (0.91%) than there are Linux users running Steam (0.82%), which includes all of Valve’s ‘Steam Machine’ consoles running the company’s Linux-based SteamOS.

That’s according to the January data 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 the user’s PC at the moment that the data is collected.

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

The latest figures show the single biggest leap yet in monthly-connected VR headsets on Steam (+0.11%), now with 0.91% of the population having headsets connected to their computers, up from 0.80% the month prior.

Data courtesy Valve

January’s data is the fifth continuous month of gains in monthly-connected headsets on Steam, and the new record high on the platform, no doubt driven by the holiday sales season which saw numerous deals across headsets. The record high figure follows a trend of exponential growth in monthly-connected headsets on Steam which Road to VR recently reported. By our estimate, the number of monthly-connected headsets on Steam now stands at some 871,000, an increase of more than 100,000 from the month prior, and a strong step toward the 1 million headset milestone which we expect to see in 2019.

Image courtesy Valve

As for the marketshare of individual headsets on Steam, Rift was the winner in January, taking a bite out of most others, now holding 47.03% (+0.58%) share. Generally speaking, other headsets shared evenly in the share reduction: Vive (-0.20%), Vive Pro (-0.21%), DK2 (-0.23%), Huawei VR2 (-0.01%). Though it didn’t amount to much; all headset makers likely saw a solid holiday boost even if the Rift came out a bit ahead.

Only Windows VR headsets escaped the Rift’s gains in January, managing to scrape +0.05% share from the competition, while continuing a growth spree now spanning nine months.

Analysis: Monthly Connected VR Headsets on Steam Have Grown Exponentially

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, nor are any non-PC headsets like Oculus Go, Gear VR, Daydream, Vive Focus, etc.

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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."
  • Proof XR Lab

    Retail pricing during the Christmas holiday period here in the UK:-

    Oculus Rift+Touch £349
    HTC Vive £499
    HTC Vive Pro £1299 (2.0 kit)
    Windows Mixed Reality £199-399 (depending on brand)

    Rift pricing was very attractive, also very easy to purchase from high street retailers including big chains like Argos, Game and John Lewis.

    Windows Mixed Reality had some good deals, but was not so easy to purchase (on-line only), the only high street chain retailer selling it (Curry’s PC World) cut it from their range back in Autumn due to lack of sales/interest.

    • NooYawker

      If you have a large room for room scale you’ll need a third sensor for the Rift which is $59USD or about £45 not including cables.

      • Proof XR Lab

        3rd sensor is £59 in the UK which includes 5 metre Cable matters Active USB 2.0 extension cable.

        To get my Rift working in my roomscale (2.8M x 3M) setup I also needed 3 wall mounts (£12), additional 5 metre USB 3.0 extension cable (£15) for left sensor, 6 foot headset hdmi and usb 3.0 extension cables (£20) with 4K hdmi repeater (£12) and Startech PCI-E USB card (£25). Just under £500 in total including Rift bundle.

      • Y do people assume those buying vr want to play room scale. It been said over and over that there is a large group that only play seated. As oculus make more games that take this into account which Jason has already said they will. this will grow a lot.

        • NooYawker

          While I do like seated VR games, room scale is still a big part of VR. Some of us have game rooms with a large play area. While I might be in the minority to say room scale isn’t a vital part of VR is just wrong.

          • pretty much every game can be played seated it’s not a matter of seated games. most people think of racing or space sim when I say seated but I play gunheart, orbus vr, raw data, and serious sam vr fusion all seated. room scale isn’t a vital part of vr it’s just a vital part to you and those like you which I admit is most of the current vr players but for a large and growing group we have no interest in standing let alone room scale. I just pointed it out cause I always see people on here telling people to go buy a third sensor or count the cost of a third sensor into the price of the Rift when truth is the seated exp. is just as good for those who wish to play that way. it takes up less space, cost less, and less likely for injuries..

          • Chris A Boyer

            I tried playing a game seated once but couldn’t enjoy it at all, my headset cable kept running into my headrest, I came to the conclusion that seated games are unplayable in my current chair and my playspace (my bedroom) does not have enough room for another chair that would be more compatible for seated experences.

          • That’s cool i never said seated is the best way for everyone. I just understand why those who like room scale do .

          • MosBen

            What are your favorite games that are designed for a seated experience?

          • I love serious sam vr fusion, orbus vr, and from other sun. but truth be told once devs started using the thumbstick for movement everything can be played seated and feel just lik a normal fps just that you can move use ur hand to arm. where the dev allow you to lock forward to is a big deal most vr games only let you do hand or head but the ones that are great for seated play allows you to lock forward to playspace that way it’s like the thumbstick is controlling the body leaving you free to look and aim where ever u want without it messing up the direction you are going. I know for a fact oculus will be giving this option in most if not all of their up coming games

          • Rosko

            while i agree with you about most people playing seated i do think if you are buying Oculus to try & get a 3rd as some games are better & less obfuscation of touch controllers with 3. But it’s a luxury rather than necessary.

          • My back is never too the sensor a third one would only take up a usb port and never get used

          • JesuSaveSouls

            Room scale is still to clunky unless on a 6dof standone.

      • Mic Ty

        actually, you can get roomscale on rift with just 2 sensors. i was able to cover 5 feet x 10 feet with 2 sensors.

    • Vegeta785

      Can’t believe rift is about to get to it’s predicted 300 dollar price.

      • JesuSaveSouls

        It reminds me of beats headphones.The high priced headphones were so much in demand despite being to expensive to afford.With vive sky high in price and oculus dropping their pricepoint… it makes vive appear to be the better quality and more desired headset.When a product like beats or mongoose bikes go into circulation at walmart,they become much cheaper and attainable but downside is they are less rare and not as valuable.
        Today vive still cant really be purchased at stores like oculus at bestbuy.My preference is oculus and something available at the local store.It makes the vive more still to be a valuable rarity with its higher price point too.

      • MeowMix

        That predicted price point by Palmer was for the headset only (look it up if you doubt). Going by Palmer’s context, it hit the $350 ballpark long ago.

  • plrr

    I think you are reporting on this excessively. You have been following this statistic in detail, but statistics are about trends. Of course, record your data, but don’t write a dozen articles about it per year…

    • Xron


      Well, there are people who are interested in it, like me, so why not?

    • Blaexe

      It’s a monthly survey, a dozen articles a year seems adequate…

      • plrr

        How so?

        • Blaexe

          Monthly survey -> 12 months in a year -> 12 surveys a year -> a dozen articles a year ..?

          • plrr

            Yeah. :-) I see the logic.

    • plrr

      Part of the reason why it’s not so meaningful is that there is measurement error… The small changes you have reported on may not even be real. It’s the trends that matter. Take a broader look every once in a while, see where things seem to be going.

  • Rogue Transfer

    It’s worth noting that Facebook announced a permanent price reduction in January for the Rift. This likely helped boost sales during the first month of the year. Esp. for people who missed buying at a similar sale price before Xmas looking to buy into VR after experiencing it during Xmas.

  • impurekind

    Good stuff.

  • Michael Slesinski

    i guess we are officially mainstream now.

  • JesuSaveSouls

    Are those steam machines vr compatible?

    • Pimple

      Yes they are….every last one of’em!!

      • G-man

        what the heck makes you say that, the aleinware one has a gpu that runs similarl level to a GTX 860M. no way that runs vr. it doesnt even have two display output ports.

    • benz145

      Yes, assuming they meet the VR Ready spec, but limited on certain games because of Linux support. All can run Windows too so users could always choose to boot Windows for a typical PC VR experience.

  • Foreign Devil

    I don’t know. . that chart sure doesn’t look like a passing “fad” to me.

  • quadrplax

    Do the Pimax headsets count as “Vive” in the hardware survey?

    • benz145

      Unclear at the moment, I’m looking into this.

  • Tech Guy

    Steam is not counting all WindowsMR headsets. This is just one of threads mentioning it

    • benz145

      Thanks for the heads up, I’m looking into this.