HTC Vive Currently Dominating Oculus Sales

Subject: General Tech | July 2, 2016 - 09:21 PM |
Tagged: valve, htc, steam, steamvr, vive, Oculus, oculus rift

Thanks to Keith of WCCFTech for tweeting this out.

According to the Steam Hardware Survey, the HTC Vive is dominating the Oculus Rift by more than a factor of two (0.15% to 0.06%). More-so, its rate of change is also double that of Oculus (0.06% to 0.03%). If these numbers are accurate, this means that the SteamVR is massively overtaking Oculus SDK in terms of both amount and rate of change.

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Now the questions are “why?” and “what does that mean?”

The most obvious reason, to me, is that HTC has much better availability than Oculus. For the last month, they announced that the Vive ships within two-to-three business days. If you look at Oculus? The website tells you to expect it in August. It is currently the second day of July. While a month is not too long of a time to wait, it would make sense that a consumer would look at the two options and say “Yeah, the this week one, please.”

If that's the case, then the platform battle could be decided simply by retail availability. It wouldn't be decided by a Valve-developed first-party game. It wouldn't be decided by DRM locking games into an exclusive deal. It would simply be decided by “you can buy this one”. That is, unless Oculus ramps up production soon. At that point, we'll need to look back at hardware surveys (not just Steam's) and see what the split is. They could catch up. They could be left behind. Who knows? It could be another factor altogether.

For now, the Vive seems like it's the crowd favorite.

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July 2, 2016 | 10:00 PM - Posted by Barry S (not verified)

Now a few people will point out this is just Rifts that made their way to Steam.. that many more may just be on the Oculus Store and are therefore uncounted. But I doubt that many Rifts have not installed a single Steam game, demo, or freebie.

To me I don't doubt the Vive will be the more popular headset. It has stunning reviews, amazing room scale videos, word of mouth, etc.. going for it.. while Oculus seems to just have anti-DRM posts and apologies for delays, DRM, posts that came off as offensive, etc..

July 3, 2016 | 08:42 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I've got a rift and have only ever used it on Home... same with my wife. We have Steam on a separate computer, but haven't got it installed in our VR area. Not sure if this is usual or not, but given the games run through Oculus have ATW enabled and games bought through steam typically don't there is incentive to stick to the Oculus ecosystem for better performance.

July 4, 2016 | 06:19 AM - Posted by danny (not verified)

If someone has a gaming pc i cant understand why they wouldn't have steam, steam is pc gaming. Have you only just built that system and only use it for vr? Seems abit of a waste tbh

July 2, 2016 | 10:02 PM - Posted by flippityfloppit...

Very good news, while competition is sorely needed, systems that data mine and lock down users need to be booted out of the market by consumers.

July 3, 2016 | 12:15 AM - Posted by odizzido (not verified)

Oculus keeps making moves which annoy me. That facebook acquisition is probably the reason these things are happening. Who wants to buy a product that pisses them off?

July 3, 2016 | 01:21 AM - Posted by Josh in Champaign (not verified)

It's the controllers, stupid. I've demoed both the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift and the Vive experience is far superior based primarily on the availability of the spatial hand controllers, the 15 ft square walkaround space is very nice as well. Oculus really shot themselves in the foot by not having the Touch controllers ready and still not for another few months!

July 3, 2016 | 05:46 AM - Posted by Axle Grease

The design of the Oculus headset is better than the Vive, but the Vive allows me to enjoy VR without having to learn to use a gamepad. It's just far more natural having tracked handheld controllers that appear as tools or weapons in-game than pressing a button to thrust a sword.

July 3, 2016 | 06:55 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

A lot of games make the mistake of focusing too much on the graphics and not enough on the game play. This seems to be part of the problem with the Rift. The game play was just left as sitting there with a controller. Not having the motion tracked controllers at launch is a big disappointment. You are missing a large part of the experience with not having a motion controller. The room scale is slightly less important, but to fully support motion controllers, you probably want to at least support standing, even if you don't support much walking around. I read some commenter saying that the rift controller will have a lot more buttons, and therefore will be better. If you are thinking in terms of buttons, then you are missing the main advantage of having a motion tracked controller.

The image system also doesn't seem to be significantly better. I am wondering if more complicated lenses are the cause of the delays. I have seen someone say that the Rift seems like it gives you a more complete view, like just having a rectangular view port on your face while the Vive is more similar to wearing goggles with two separate, round view ports. This didn't seem to actually be that important though, since you quickly stop noticing the shape of the view.

I also have concerns that the Rift tracking system isn't up to tracking at room scale and/or tracking multiple objects that can easily be occluded. They will probably have to ship, at a minimum, a second camera with the motion controllers. This doesn't seem good, since I have already seen quite a few people talk about having USB issues since it seems to be streaming video back to the host machine for processing. The LightHouse system seems much cleaner. Each device is responsible for it's own tracking with built in accelerometers and correction from the laser system. They can just report their position to the host system with minimal processing on the host system. I am expecting that Oculus may need to make a more expensive camera that includes a processor to avoid sending full video back to the system. That could make for a much more expensive custom camera controller system.

Scaling to room scale may also have field of view issues, leading to accuracy issues. With the Vive, the LightHouse systems are not expensive; they are mostly off the shelf components. If adding the motion controllers was simple, then we probably would already have them. There wouldn't be much stopping them from shipping an extra camera and the motion controllers if it actually works. So what is the issue? I guess since they don't seem to be able to deliver the headsets themselves, delivering the motion controllers might be a lower priority now.

July 3, 2016 | 04:11 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Been contemplating to get one device. Rift is just not an option. The terms and conditions are atrocious.

"Your usage will be tracked while you are using the headset and just like Facebook and many other social media apps it will use the data collected for targeted advertising. There does not seem to be any incognito mode, so think twice before using the Rift for certain applications unless you want some interesting adverts showing up on your Facebook page."


July 3, 2016 | 08:53 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

To be fair, Vive has similar conditions about data collection. In fact, the terms and conditions are pretty standard across hardware products (although in light of FB being involved I'm sure the story generated loads of ad revenue for PC perspective). While there's no guarantees for the future, I haven't seen targeted ads yet.

Separate point though... Incognito mode on a friends list (which isn't yet implemented, but has been confirmed as on the list) is not likely to be linked to prevention of any sort of tracking for data collection. They're 2 different things. Even google's incognito mode doesn't stop them collecting data for their own use.. they just don't use it for certain specified purposes.

July 3, 2016 | 11:39 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Owning both a Vive and Rift, I have yet to see the Steam Hardware Survey pop up. With most people it pops up once or maybe twice a year, so isn't a great meter for install base of something that has been out for barely 2 months.

The Steam Hardware Survey DOES trigger for brand new Steam installs though, so for the subset of people getting into VR but who aren't gamers (surprisingly high, e.g. much of the keynote track at VRLO has nothing to do with gaming), the Steam Hardware Survey will be skewed toward the Vive due to the requirement to install Steam in order to use it.

July 3, 2016 | 09:21 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Pointless article as there could be many Rift owners just using the Occulus store. There's numbers mean nothing without acces to that information.

Typical weak Internet "journalism".

July 4, 2016 | 06:26 AM - Posted by danny (not verified)

Who has a gaming pc capable of running vr, and not have steam installed? Very very VERY few thats who

July 4, 2016 | 03:56 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Merely having Steam installed does not trigger entry into the Steam Hardware Survey. For existing installs, the popup occurs at random, and is opt-in. For new installs (a significant portion of the Vive userbase, VR update amongst non-gamers has been higher than expected) the survey triggers, so will skew results towards to the Vive to some degree.

July 3, 2016 | 10:22 PM - Posted by Erich (not verified)

Oculus reminds me of 3dfx.

A lot.

July 3, 2016 | 11:37 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Oculus is DOA. Going to take a lot of money from Facebook to keep them open and get them anywhere at this point.

July 4, 2016 | 05:14 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Too expensive + no killer app = DOA

July 5, 2016 | 08:52 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

While a competitor would be good for VIVE, the Rift needs to die in a fire, their console like exclusivity attitude is not something welcome to the PC world.

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