Oculus Rift is now the most popular virtual reality headset among Steam users, according to Steam’s latest hardware survey. This marks the first time Oculus Rift has eclipsed HTC Vive since the pair of competing VR headsets launched almost two years ago.
Steam hardware surveys are optional. If users opt in, their hardware is scanned when logged into their Steam account. Slowly but surely, the Rift has gained ground on the Vive over the past few months. After being within a percentage point of one another in January, the Rift surpassed the Vive with 47.3 percent to 45.3 percent of the user share in February. The two-point separation doesn’t seem like much, but considering the Rift was in a double-digit deficit for a consistent period of time, it’s fairly impressive that the Rift caught up.
It’s also worth noting that Steam is seen as the home for HTC Vive users since Valve co-developed the headset with HTC. Meanwhile, Rift users also have the Oculus Store for exclusive content. If the Oculus Store didn’t exist, it’s plausible to think that the Rift would be performing even better on Steam.
Unfortunately, the Steam survey only gives us a snapshot of the battle between the two leading PC virtual reality headsets. Neither manufacturer has released official sales numbers and since the survey is optional, it’s also possible the sample size doesn’t directly line up with the totality of the user base on Steam.
The uptick in Oculus Rift usage could be related to price drops that have made the headset a bargain compared to the Vive. You can get the headset bundled with two Oculus Touch controllers for $400. The HTC Vive, on the other hand, still costs $600.
It will be interesting to see how long HTC retains the Vive’s lofty price point when the Vive Pro arrives. The premium headset with much-needed resolution improvements impressed us at CES earlier this year. While HTC hasn’t announced a release date or price, it will assuredly cost more than the original model. The question is: Can HTC afford to go north of $600 with the Oculus Rift seemingly gaining steam?