The big picture: Virtual reality gaming might not be as popular as its console and PC cousins, but it’s far from “dead,” contrary to what some more skeptical gamers would have you believe. Indeed, according to Steam’s latest hardware survey, quite the opposite is true – VR usage is on the rise.
UploadVR has chronicled PC VR’s growth over time and using data gathered from said hardware surveys, the outlet was able to determine that the percentage of Steam users with VR headsets has more than doubled over the past year from around .4 percent to .8 percent.
Obviously, these numbers are small in the grand scheme of things, and it’s clear that VR isn’t the smash hit many hoped it would be. However, as cheaper headset models launch and better VR games hit the market, the industry will likely continue to grow (slowly).
It’s also worth pointing out that percentages can be misleading. As PC Gamer notes, if Valve’s previous claims that it has around 90 million active users are still accurate, the VR-equipped portion of that userbase would be roughly 720,000 people, up from 2017’s 360,000.
It’s not clear why 2018 was the year that VR grew so substantially (relatively speaking), but if we had to guess, the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift’s late 2017 price drops were probably the main culprits.
Both devices used to cost around $800, but now, the Rift comes in at $400 and the Vive costs about $500.
That’s still a lot of money, and true mainstream adoption probably won’t happen until the price lowers by another $200 (or a cheaper mid-range device fills the void) across the board, but it definitely opens VR gaming up to a much wider audience. With a little luck, that audience will continue to grow in 2019.
Middle image courtesy PC World