Valve has finally updated the Steam Hardware & Software Survey, which details which components are most used by Steam players. The Meta Quest 2 (formerly Oculus) is by far the most popular VR headset, sitting at about 46% market share.
Interestingly, Valve’s own Index VR headset is sitting in second place at around 14%. The Meta Rift S, HTC Vive, and other Windows mixed reality (XR) headsets from companies like HP and Dell round out most of the survey. It’s not great news for HTC, whose Vive headset was among the most popular at one point.
However, this is obviously great news for Meta CEO Mark Zuckerburg, who is betting the company’s future on the realization of the eventual “metaverse” via mixed reality. Market analysts have seen global shipments of XR headsets increase 348% since 2020, with Meta commanding almost three-fourths of the market share by itself. Meta will need to continue this momentum if it hopes to be the face of the metaverse.
For Valve’s part, it seems to be backing out of the VR space to make way for its Steam Deck portable gaming PC. Part of this is Meta buying out big VR developers and the relatively low-cost nature of the Quest 2. Valve is betting that more people would rather game on the go than strap on a VR headset. Still, Valve is still trying to keep the SteamVR platform agnostic (except Mac) so that they can still benefit from the growth of the Meta Quest 2 and VR in general.
Of course, competition is what keeps innovation going, and HTC doesn’t seem to be sitting idly by. The company introduced two new VR headsets last spring at its ViveCon 2021 conference. The stand-alone Vive Focus 3 has dual-2.5K displays that combine into an overall 5K resolution. Meanwhile, the PC-centric Vive Pro 2 has the same combined 5K resolution but also supports a 120Hz refresh rate.
HTC is also trying to make a business play by introducing several solutions for enterprise customers. The Vive Sync application lets teams experience shared virtual gatherings like meetings. There’s also a Vive Business App Store to find curated apps.
Despite a global pandemic and chip shortages, the AR and VR business seems alive and well. With other companies like Apple on the verge of announcing their own XR solutions, perhaps the metaverse is coming after all.
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