SteamVR Hardware Survey for August 2020: Rift S Back on Top
Facebook’s Oculus Rift S VR headset has risen up the charts once again to become the most used virtual reality headset on Steam. The last time it was on top in the SteamVR Hardware Survey was in April this year.
The stats also show the expected downward trend of the old virtual reality headsets as the new headsets continue to increase their market share.
The proportion of SteamVR users rose to a new record of almost 2% in July, largely benefiting from Half-Life: Alyx and the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine measures which saw more people staying indoors and trying out VR experience. For the month of August, it dropped to 1.7%.
In its 2019 annual review, Valve had announced that it had almost 95 million monthly active Steam users. From this value, we can estimate the approximate number of virtual reality users on Steam in August as being 1.7% of 95 million which comes to about 1.65 million monthly SteamVR users.
Several months of stagnation, driven in part by the pandemic, could dampen the industry. A lot of hope for future VR growth rests on new exciting announcements expected in the upcoming Facebook Connect (formerly Oculus Connect) as well as in the new VR headsets like Oculus Quest 2 and HP Reverb G2 expected to launch soon. Various hit VR titles are also coming soon such as Star Wars: Squadron, The Walking Dead: Onslaught as well as Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond.
In March of this year, Valve changed how it collects its VR headset data for its Hardware Survey. Previously, it simply scanned for connected USB devices. This methodology, however, missed out on some of the new virtual reality headsets and devices that were not plugged in at the time of the data collection. The new methodology fundamentally changed how Valve collected its headset data as it also scanned SteamVR logs and was thus able to capture any SteamVR-compatible headset.
UploadVR speculates that Valve may have continued with tweaks through the month of April. Rift S headsets had dropped by 5% while Oculus Quest users increased by 3% suggesting that some of the Quest headsets in the earlier data may have been mis-categorized as Rift S when they were connected wirelessly via third-party software.
|July 2020||August 2020||Difference|
|Oculus Rift S||21.79%||23.02%||+1.22%|
|Windows Mixed Reality HMDs||7.36%||7.07%||-0.29%|
|HTC Vive Pro||3.43%||3.22%||-0.21%|
|HTC Vive Cosmos||1.48%||1.46%||-0.02%|
|HTC Vive Cosmos Elite||0.88%||0.99%||+0.11%|
|Pimax 5K Plus||0.29%||0.31%||+0.02%|
|Oculus Rift DK2||0.06%||0.07%||+0.00%|
|Steam users with VR glasses||1.93%||1.70%||-0.23%|
Back to the latest SteamVR hardware survey. For the month of August, Rift S rose by 1.22%. Approximately a quarter of the virtual reality headsets that were used on Steam in August were Rift S.
The jump in Rift S usage coincided with a -1.57% drop in HTC Vive usage. The Vive headset was first launched in 2016 and had seen a huge bump in the weeks after the release of Half-Life: Alyx a few months ago. It is possible that some users reached out to their old rusting Vive headsets to get their hands on Valve’s flagship VR title but they quickly gave them up by August, possibly putting the headsets back to the shelves or possibly upgraded their hardware to Valve Index.
For the month of August, Valve registered the second-highest growth in usage. It is now used by 1 in 6 of SteamVR users. Valve has grown consistently this year, proving that there is still a high demand for higher spec virtual reality hardware than was previously assumed.
New Headsets are Replacing the Old
The stats above show the proportion of virtual reality headsets on Steam for the month of August of 2020. Users that are only using the VR platforms Oculus and Viveport and who do not have Steam installed or who did not participate in the Steam data collection are not accounted for in these stats. The SteamVR Hardware Survey also does not capture PSVR and standalone Quest users (who are not plugged to PC via Steam through an Oculus Link connection or third-party software).
While Rift S, Valve Index and Oculus Quest have registered gains, the older VR headsets such as HTC Vive and Oculus Rift have lost their market share from their peak in 2016. This, too, is a trend that has been ongoing for months and is a positive sign that users are transitioning to the new generation of virtual reality headsets and phasing out the old generation devices.
HTC continues to record dismal performance. Its Cosmos product range has only gained a 2.45% market share since its market debut. Perhaps this poor performance might have influenced HTC’s decision not to sell its Vive Cosmos Play to end users in the first place.
A Summer Stagnation
The SteamVR Hardware Survey does not indicate the frequency and intensity with which the tracked VR headsets were used.
As far as market performance goes, there were two highs; in December (holiday shopping season) and in March 2020 (powered by Half-Life: Alyx). However, the monthly average maximum simultaneous SteamVR users fell in the subsequent month. We are unlikely to see a spike for the rest of the year.