One prevailing misperception in the tech world is that VR has stalled out. Some have even pronounced it dead. Such sentiments reflect the backlash to VR’s circa-2016 hype cycle. It didn’t fulfill world-changing proclamations trumpeted at the time….and deserves some grief.
But practically speaking, VR is doing just fine and is growing at a healthy pace for an emerging technology that faces practicality headwinds. In fact, signals tracked by our research arm ARtillery Intelligence, indicate VR is on an upswing after declining about 10 percent in 2020.
That decline was Covid-inflected, given supply-chain impediments. But demand remains strong. And that demand was given a place to go when Oculus Quest 2 launched. Not only did it scratch the right quality/price itch, but Facebook made moves to beef up its supply chain.
And this appears to be working given Quest 2’s continued sales performance. The broader VR market has likewise emitted positive signs, which we recently rounded up for Q1. Now, at the end of Q2, we continue the tradition with a critical mass of milestones for another VR data roundup.
Jumping in, we’ve aggregated Q1 data points and milestones for this week’s Data Dive (announcements happened in Q1, though some track prior-period activity). Here they are…
–– VR headsets on Steam in May reached a new high of 2.31 percent of connected devices on the platform.
–– Oculus headsets continue to gain market share on Steam, now claiming 60 percent of the platform’s VR connections.
–– Pavlov Shack gained 3,000 more players after its Oculus App Lab launch.
–– VR fitness apps continue to gain traction.
–– The official Facebook community for VR fitness app Supernatural reached more than 13,000 members.
–– Beat Saber continues its streak for most played PSVR game.
–– Facebook Says Quest 2 has outsold every previous Oculus headset combined.
–– Vive Focus 3 and Pro 2 announced for June 27 launch
–– Pico Neo Pro 3 and Pro Eye announced for Q3 launch
–– P–S5 VR headset reported to launch in Q4 2022
–– HP Reverb G2 Omnicept launches for $1,249
–– Oculus Quest v30 Rolls Out with microphone swapping and multitasking.
–– Quest is getting a third-person spectator view for casting.
–– Supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts 2022 Oculus headsets will have new lenses.
–– Road to VR breaks down the 20 best-rated Quest games & apps.
–– 60,000+ Facebook employees can expense an Oculus Quest 2.
–– GDC industry survey indicates that a majority of VR developers are working on Quest games or apps.
–– Facebook continues its VR game studio shopping spree, acquires BigBox VR.
–– Virtuix raises $19 million in crowd investments for Omni One VR treadmill.
–– Epic Games raises $1 billion from Sony and others for long-term metaverse plans.
–– AmazeVR secures $9.5 million to bring immersive concerts to VR.
–– Vicarious Surgical will raise $460 million via SPAC for its VR surgery platform.
–– Audi spinoff Holoride collects $12 million in Series A led by Terranet AB.
–– Campfire raises $8 million to advance AR/VR for product design.
–– Arcturus raises $5 million for real-time responsive volumetric video.
–– VR locomotion device ‘DecaMove’ attracts $350K in pre-order campaign.
–– Virtual reality collaboration platform Avatour raises $2.9 million in seed funding.
–– Edge enters OTHERWORLD with £1.7 million VR investment.
–– Moth+Flame Raises $2.5 million to expand its immersive VR work training tech.
–– Psychedelic VR meditation startup Tripp raises $11 million Series A.
–– eMarketer estimates that there are 30.6 million monthly active VR headset users, growing to 33.2 million in 2023.
— ARtillery Intelligence (our research arm) estimated that Oculus Quest sold just over 850,000 units in Q1 2020, bringing its cumulative lifetime total (including Quest 1) to 2.87 million units at that time (as of March 31st).
The VR Flywheel
Zeroing in on that last item, Quest 2 sales continue to show strong signs. We’ll have more clues to extrapolate Q2 unit sales when Facebook releases its earnings report in about a month. Meanwhile, Q1 sales indicate momentum and an installed base that continues to ratchet up.
That installed base is important to attract developers to the platform. This process is happening naturally as the hardware base grows. But it’s also something that Facebook continues to accelerate through content investments or game studio acquisitions like Big Box VR.
This is all in the interest of getting the flywheel spinning. As Mark Zuckerberg often says, content drives hardware sales, which in turn incentivizes more content….and around we go. For a fully-actualized content ecosystem, he says that Oculus needs 10 million units in market.
How long will it take to reach that goal? As noted, ARtillery pegs Quest’s lifetime sales at 2.87 million as of March 31, which could be closer to 3.5 million today. At its current rate, 10 million in-market units (which is different than annual sales) could be reached in the next 1-2 years.