In a nutshell: When Facebook changed its corporate name to Meta late last year, it was more than just a simple rebranding. The move signaled the social media company was finally getting serious about what comes next; namely, it's push into the metaverse and by proxy, its plans for Oculus. Fittingly, it seems as though sales of the company's Oculus headsets are gaining traction.
IDC estimates Meta sold between 5.3 million and 6.8 million VR devices in 2021. Firm figures won't be known until fourth quarter data is finalized and even then, Meta doesn't regularly disclose Oculus sales data so we may never know for certain. Even in that range, it'd still be better than the 3.5 million units it is believed the company sold in 2020.
Both Jefferies and KeyBanc Capital reported downloads of the Oculus app were up over the holiday week, with Jefferies' Brent Thill noting that daily active users on Christmas Day spiked 90 percent compared to the same period in 2020.
Facebook purchased Oculus for $2 billion way back in 2014 but didn't really do much with the acquisition until recently. In hindsight, it's entirely possible that Facebook was simply waiting for the hardware and technology to catch up to its vision.
Indeed, most early VR headsets of decent quality (not smartphone-assisted cardboard viewers) required a physical tether to transfer data and power to the host system, severely limiting their appeal. Sales picked up significantly once true wireless systems started hitting the market.
While the Oculus app data from the holidays is promising, time will tell how much of this activity proves to be more than casual use.