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Steam users with PC VR headsets more than doubled in number last year

VR adoption is on the rise, though to what extent depends on how you choose to view Valve's collection of data for its latest Steam hardware survey. At a glance, the numbers for December show that PC VR ownership among Steam users more than doubled in 2018.

Before proponents of VR pop the champagne bottles and light the fireworks in celebration of VR having arrived in force, a closer look at the numbers is warranted. The Steam hardware survey breaks things down into percentages, and at the beginning of 2018, VR ownership sat at just over 0.4 percent. Now it's at 0.8 percent as 2018 has come to a close.

So yes, VR ownership on Steam doubled up (and then some) over the past year, and that's encouraging. But at the same time, the actual number of Steam users who own a VR headset and play VR games is relatively small, compared to those who don't. How small?

As Ars Technica points out, the percentage is about the same as it is for Linux usage. We can extrapolate things further by using Valve's claim in October that Steam had grown to over 90 million monthly active users. That puts the number of Steam users with a VR headset at around 720,000.

VR isn't exactly lighting the world on fire, though compared to the beginning of the year, VR ownership has more than doubled, when looking the number of users (rather than the percentage). It may have even tripled (or more), depending on how many Steam users there were at the beginning of 2018.

Out of those Steam users who plugged in one of the best VR headsets in 2018, most are using an Oculus Rift. The hardware survey shows at the Rift represent 46.45 percent of all VR headsets, with HTC's Vive in second place at 40.82 percent. After that, mixed reality headsets combined to claim 8.89 percent of the Steam VR population.

It will be interesting to see how things progress in 2019. While VR is only used by a fraction of all Steam users, adoption is increasing, even if slowly.