Valve updated its Steam hardware survey with a fresh set of numbers for the month of March, and it includes a more accurate accounting of VR headsets than in months past. According to the update, 1.29 percent of Steam users own a VR headset of some kind.
That translates to more than 1 million VR headsets, which is a conservative estimate—Valved announced in April 2019 that Steam had grown to 90 million active users (and 1 billion accounts). Depending on how many active Steam accounts there are now, the number of Steam users with a VR headset could be a couple hundred thousand higher. The caveat is we don’t know how many users actually fill out the hardware survey, or how representative it is of the Steam userbase as a whole.
Regardless, the latest data is the most accurate accounting of VR hardware on Steam to date. That’s because Valve changed the way it collects that type of data. UploadVR says it received an email from Valve explaining that starting March 1, Steam started using records of any headset connected in the past month, rather than just scanning current USB devices.
Steam’s accounting method still uses the latter as a fallback, but no longer only tallies VR headsets that are currently connected to a PC. For one reason or another, a person might unplug their VR headset after a gaming session, particularly if they are short on USB ports. Now if that happens, the headset that got unplugged is still counted.
As to which VR headsets are the most popular, it’s almost an even split between the Oculus Rift S (27.05 percent) and HTC Vive (26.67 percent). The Oculus Quest, which we consider the best VR headset for most people, accounts for 2.89 percent of the tally—which probably means the bulk of its users are keeping the headset untethered, meaning Steam can’t count them. It will be interesting to see if that number grows, both as more supplies are replenished and as more people invest in a Link cable to plug the headset into a PC.
Pimax also found its way into the hardware survey. Its higher resolution 5K Plus and 8K headsets collectively account for 0.33 percent of all VR headsets. It’s a small percentage, though that puts it somewhere in the ballpark of 30,000 very pricey headsets.