When Oculus first launched its Rift VR headset in 2016, the gaming community was awed by its potential but the technological and financial barriers to adoption were far too steep for most. VR as a whole fell victim to the hype cycle and was caught in the “trough of disillusionment” for some time. However, the Oculus Quest, and especially the newer Quest 2, which sells for $299, have shown that the market just needed the right balance of price, content, and form factor.
Interpret data has shown that Quest 2 purchasing interest has remained strong, and indeed, on Christmas Day the Oculus app became the No.1 downloaded app in Apple’s App Store. Meta hasn’t released sales figures, but the app is required for setup, signaling that many new users purchased or were gifted a Quest 2 for the holidays. Console shortages for both Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 may have contributed to the spike, and it’s likely that the huge buzz around the metaverse following Facebook’s rebranding as Meta resulted in increased VR/AR awareness as well.
The surge in new VR users has elated developers, as Forbes points out, and that’s great news for the future of the ecosystem as developers can continue to invest in creating great content if the audience is growing to support the business. In fact, the latest Steam Survey data found that Meta now holds 60% of the SteamVR market share and 36% of that is Quest 2.
According to former Oculus data scientist and current Andreesen Horowitz partner Jack Soslow, the Quest 2 sold more units last year than Microsoft sold Xboxes. While neither Microsoft nor Meta has released hard numbers, if Soslow is in the ballpark, it’s a big moment for VR.
Soslow also notes that gaming is just one of the key drivers for VR experiences, as users are flocking to fitness, social, meditation, and even work-related apps in VR. Interpret’s New Media Measure® backs this up, as Quest 2 owners over-index on VR experiences, tourism, and relaxation compared to other VR headset owners. Quest 2 is just the beginning of a years-long metaverse battle that’s going to intensify as other major tech firms launch their own products and services. Apple is rumored to be launching its own mixed reality glasses in 2022, and the Cupertino firm has poached Andrea Schubert, Meta Platforms’ communications and public relations lead for its AR products, according to Bloomberg.