VRChat, the social app for VR and non-VR users popularly known for its recent boom in meme-driven notoriety, seems to have leveled off somewhat in terms of install numbers and concurrent user rates following its exponential upswing back in December and January.

According to Steam Spy, downloads of the app are hovering somewhere around 3-3.4 million owners (not to be confused with users), although this month alone saw 400,000 installs, an encouraging thought as the more popular memes inevitably wane is relevancy.

The daily user rate however has cooled to around to ~8,000 daily concurrents on the busiest say of the week—a far cry from the ~20,000 players at it height of popularity in mid-January—but a much more consistent usership overall. You can check out the publicly available breakdown on Steam DB.

VRChat Players Per Day, image courtesy Steam DB

Since the app is only available through Steam, the figures seen above tell more or less the whole picture in terms of players per day. Take a look again at what the graph when the number of Twitch viewers is added (seen in red), one of the major sources of free publicity outside of YouTube.

VRChat Players Per Day (blue) and Twitch users (red), image courtesy Steam DB

Here we can see the bulk of Twitch views actually happened preceding the highest moment in daily users, bringing in the masses before cooling off to current viewership rates. And while raw downloads, daily concurrent user numbers, and Twitch views gives us a good idea of how VRChat is performing, it doesn’t specify the breakdown of what devices players are using, as VRChat supports both traditional monitors and VR headsets such as HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

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While those numbers aren’t public, as a free app open to anyone with a computer with even a half-decent GPU, it’s pretty much a forgone conclusion at this point that VRChat’s numbers are heavily influenced by desktop users. At the same time though, there isn’t really anything out there like it. As an app that provides a space for both VR and non-VR users to hang out and import their own wild (and sometimes horrible) avatars and worlds, it’s basically providing a free-for-all space of self expression—the perfect conditions for meme-ing (whether you like it or not). It’s also a space for conversations about VR, and a place to show off motion controls and realistic body language, possibly enticing desktop users to take the VR plunge too.

In any case, a large and healthy usership is something many VR apps can’t boast at these early days in the first consumer product cycle. And when a game creates a culture, people generally stick around to see what’s next.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Kyle Biggs

    It is the ‘killer app’ of VR in my opinion. Especially because it doesn’t require it. Every time I’m on there I hear several people say ‘I really need to get VR’ and I’ve known many who end up buying in. Sure, you can’t show someone what it’s like to see in VR using a 2D monitor, but people are simply blown away by the expressiveness enabled by hand presence.

    • Absolutely hit the nail on the head. The inclusiveness is a big driver.

      I’ve spoken to desktop users in vrchat that refer to themselves as ‘disabled’ and have been asked to stroke people on numerous occasions. To which I happily oblige.

    • yag

      Yep the killer app of VR had to be free and also playable (and still enjoyable) on flat screen, and with a big enough value added brought by VR, making flat-screeners envious. The best showcase for VR now.

      • Kyle Biggs

        It feels a bit like a cheap shot used to sell VR headsets, but I’m so glad it is compatible with all the major ones. But you know what else is cool? Shit-loads of people getting into 3D modeling and level design too. Hell, it even got me to download Unity (and I’m a UE4 guy).

        • yag

          I saw that, it’s an amazing side-effect, mass of people learning (or wanting to learn) the tools to make virtual worlds (even if it’s often for basic stuff).
          We can hope a lot will persevere (seeing how a tool like Unity is relatively easy – I’m an Unity guy ;) and will make the indie VR games of tomorrow.

          • I actually planned my VR rig around VRChat from the beginning. Around January 2018, I came across several Youtube broadcasters that were streaming VRChat and producing some of the most hilarious content I’d seen in forever, so I doubled my efforts and by the following November, I went and built out a system that would run any VR game I threw at it at flawless speed. Since then, I’ve accumulated around 120 SteamVR games (after buying around the same number, prior, for PSVR), and starting around late May of this year, I installed and started self training on Blender, Unity and several other apps for creating character models. While my job takes up a lot of my time, I can clearly see that I’ve made significant progress and that’s moving me closer to being able to pursue what previously was no more than a dream –I’ve wanted for many years to break into game development, and finally see a way forward to get there. VRChat, in large part, has made all of that possible.
            I’m now working toward buying a full body tracking rig that initially I’ll use primarily for VRChat gameplay, but I plan to keep expanding it until I’ve got at least 10 sensors to use for high level animation. In the meantime, I’m going to keep working with Unity and look into getting a license to work with Unreal as well and keep working on refining my techniques so that within the next 2-5 years, I should be able to publish my first indie game. Provided that effort pans out, that should hopefully open up the option of leaving my current job to open my own studio. Either way though, I’m having a blast working with these tools. I dabbled with 3D Studio Max 3.1 many years ago and felt like I never really got anywhere with it, but now –with Blender, Unity and the VRChat SDK, I’m making mad progress without utterly killing myself financially to do it. That’s a really beautiful thing. :)

      • Gladys

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    • 4brains

      Along with Google Earth VR, it is the killer app!

  • Scypheroth

    its a good game…to watch…but if your just playing it it get boring fast…its made for youtubers and streamers to get lols n views…i played it wit my vive for a few weeks but since then i dont even have it installed any more…basically filled with ppl showing off there “modeling” and “characters” they just made in game as youll see grps of ppl standing around just talking about there models and what it took and how to do it to get them doing/looking a certain way…wich is un interesting to me.

    • Little Helper

      You don’t have many friends now, do you?

  • Glad to see that they have past that horrible moment where the environment was toxic