One ongoing 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, so it’s earned some mistrust.
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 shown positive signs, which we recently rounded up for Q2. Now as Q3 winds down, we continue the tradition with a critical mass of milestones for a VR data roundup.
Jumping in, we’ve aggregated Q3 data points and milestones for this week’s Data Dive (announcements happened in Q3, though some track prior-period activity). Here they are…
–– Rec Room announced 500 percent year-over-year usage growth, more than 15 million lifetime users, and more than 1 million active monthly VR users.
–– Beat Saber has topped the EU PSVR chart for an entire year.
–– Two years after launch and still $1,000, demand for Valve’s VR headset is as strong as ever.
–– Quest app lab passes 500 apps, nearly doubling those on the main store.
–– 1 in 3 VR headsets used on SteamVR are Quest 2.
–– VR on Steam bounces back to nearly 2.8 million monthly-connected headsets.
–– Nearly one quarter of Americans have used a VR or AR headset.
–– Resolution Games’ ‘Demeo’ surpasses “multi-million dollars” in revenue.
–– I Expect You To Die 2 made $1 Million in less than a week.
–– Social VR platform ENGAGE generated more than $1.4M in revenue in first half of 2021.
–– ‘Moss’ and ‘GORN’ join the platinum club with 1 million units sold.
–– Unassuming one-man VR project ‘Gorilla Tag’ reaches 675K players.
–– Fast Travel Games made $2.4 million in 2020, new investment announced.
–– ‘Wraith: The Oblivion VR’ Studio Fast Travel Games raises $4 million.
–– WXR Fund raises $5 million for women-led tech startups.
–– Osso VR raises $27 million to gamify surgery training.
–– NFT Oasis creator Provenonce raises $4.4 million to help VR creators reach the masses.
–– Resolution Games secures $25 million series C funding.
–– HaptX raises $12 million to establish new HQ.
–– Rezzil secures $2.75 million for VR sports training app.
–– Thirdverse raises $20 million.
–– VR Newcomer ForeVR Games raises $7 Million to build social VR.
–– UK-based VR studio XR Games, known for its recently released Zombieland VR game, raised £1.5 million (~$2 million).
–– The Room raises $7 million for multifaceted 3D virtual events platform.
–– Facebook’s Bosworth ‘convinced’ Oculus will reach 10 million users earlier than expected.
–– IDC: Global shipments for VR headsets jumped 52.4 percent year-over-year year, driven by Quest 2 which grew accounts for 82.7 percent of industry revenue, up from 50.5 last year.
–– PwC: VR content revenue grew 30 percent year-over-year, representing media’s fastest-growing market.
–– Our research arm ARtillery Intelligence estimated in August that Oculus Quest sold just over 461,000 units in Q2 2021 (based on earnings announcement occurring in Q3), bringing its Quest 1 & 2 cumulative lifetime total to 3.33 million units at that time.
The VR Flywheel
Zeroing in on that last item, Quest 2 sales continue to show strong signs. We’ll have more clues for Q3 unit sales when Facebook releases its earnings in about a month. Meanwhile, Q2 sales indicate momentum, but Q3 should see a bit of a slow-down due to a temporary sales halt.
Nonetheless, Quest 2’s installed base continues to ratchet up, which is important to attract developers to the platform. This process is happening naturally as the hardware base grows. But it’s also something Facebook continues to accelerate through heavy investment in 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 3.33 million as of Q2-end, which could be closer to 3.7 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.