The Steam Hardware Survey shows a near quadrupling of VR users in July – but this data is almost certainly erroneous.
Companies like Meta, Valve, & HTC don’t reveal hardware sales figures. The Steam Hardware Survey is the most reliable indicator of PC VR’s adoption – or at least was until recently. The survey is offered to a random sample of Steam’s userbase each month. If you choose to accept, it uploads your PC specifications and peripherals. Before March 2020 the survey relied on headsets being connected via USB at the time of sampling, but Valve changed it to scan your SteamVR logs from the past month.
Since the survey method was changed, the percentage of Steam users with VR has stayed roughly stable around 2%. May 2022’s data showed a large unexplained jump to 3.24%, but June’s data returned back to the normal expected range – 1.87% – which seemed to indicate May was just a one-off anomaly. But the data for July shows an even more dramatic increase – to 6.67%.
We can confidently say there wasn’t actually a near quadrupling of VR users on Steam in July. There hasn’t been a new mainstream headset release, nor a price cut for Quest 2 – quite the opposite in fact. A real increase would also be accompanied with a dramatic change in per-headset share, since older headsets no longer sold wouldn’t increase at the same rate.
We reached out to Valve for an explanation, but as with May’s data we didn’t receive a reply. We’ll keep an eye out for August’s data next month to see what happens next.