Steam's VR growth has slowed months after the launch of Half-Life: Alyx

Polycount

Posts: 2,559   +553
Staff member
In context: After a brief popularity surge prompted by the release of exciting new VR titles like Half-Life: Alyx and Boneworks, the VR gaming industry has returned to normal -- largely stagnant -- growth, at least on Steam.

The results of Steam's latest monthly hardware survey are in, and they show VR usage has fallen from nearly two percent back down to 1.88 percent. That might seem like a small drop, but there's some important context to think about.

Prior to the release of Half-Life: Alyx, VR usage on Steam had been steadily, but very slowly, growing at a rate of about .10 percent per month.

However, when April 2020 rolled around -- the month after Alyx's release -- usage skyrocketed from about 1.3 percent (over 1 million users) to the record-high 1.93 percent (closer to 2.7 million users) we hinted at before.

Now, we've returned back to these smaller, .10-.20 percent-per-month growth jumps. In other words, though the overall usage numbers are still much higher than they were earlier this year, real-world growth has normalized for a variety of reasons -- Covid-19-related financial difficulties and the lack of any new system sellers, to name a couple.

Nonetheless, since there are nearly 20 million concurrent Steam users active at any given time, even small percentage movements can't be ignored: VR usage is still rising. However, faster growth probably won't happen unless major blockbusters like Alyx release much more consistently.

Permalink to story.

 

Evernessince

Posts: 5,419   +6,014
It's probably wise to point out that VR headsets have been in general out of stock for a majority of the pandemic.

That's the most important factor. VR gear demand clearly exceeds what the market can currently provide. I sold my old HTC Vive base stations for $135 / each. They were previously going for $90 before the pandemic. There are not many on the market that aren't getting snapped up either.

What you might be seeing is lack of supply, not demand.
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 585   +445
TechSpot Elite
Oh hell, this reminded me I have a Samsung HMD Odyssey+ that I put away after the 2019 holidays until I had more time to use it. Arizona Sunshine and Skyrim VR are a blast but thats all I had tried. Gonna get it out tomorrow.
 
  • Like
Reactions: trgz

Nobina

Posts: 2,668   +2,294
If I'm tired from work or something the last thing I want is to equip my self with a bunch of gizmos and flap my arms around like a complete lunatic to play a VR game.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PEnnn

Puiu

Posts: 4,076   +2,627
I never would have guessed that most people wouldn't buy VR equipment for just one game.
It's not just that, growth slowed down because stocks are always zero and people got tired of waiting (I know I did and now I'm waiting for the Quest 2).

The initial boom was also because people who wanted one finally got reason to buy it: staying at home is BORING :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Evernessince

Lounds

Posts: 584   +468
It's probably wise to point out that VR headsets have been in general out of stock for a majority of the pandemic.

That's the most important factor. VR gear demand clearly exceeds what the market can currently provide. I sold my old HTC Vive base stations for $135 / each. They were previously going for $90 before the pandemic. There are not many on the market that aren't getting snapped up either.

What you might be seeing is lack of supply, not demand.
Exactly this, during lockdown Rift CV1's used were selling for £300-400 with the Rift S selling at retailers for £500 an increase over £400. The Quest ran out of stock and only the 128GB model was available at £500. All I want to play is HLA, so I'm glad quest 2 is coming out so I can finally play VR without spending stupid amounts of money.
 

Evernessince

Posts: 5,419   +6,014
Exactly this, during lockdown Rift CV1's used were selling for £300-400 with the Rift S selling at retailers for £500 an increase over £400. The Quest ran out of stock and only the 128GB model was available at £500. All I want to play is HLA, so I'm glad quest 2 is coming out so I can finally play VR without spending stupid amounts of money.
Dang, I sold my 3 sensor CV setup with a ton of VR covers for $270 about a year before the pandemic. That's pretty good appreciation.
 

PinothyJ

Posts: 491   +39
I am sure it has nooooooothing to do with the fact that Valve's Index is not available to purchase in a number of regions around the world.

If you shoot the cow you don't get to complain about dry cereal.