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Back in October of last year, we covered a report on the Steam hardware survey that showed the Rift catching up with the Vive. Now it seems that the Rift has overtaken the Vive - and that’s official!
In our previous article, we speculated that it might have already been the case. Participation in the survey is optional so there might have been an element of self-selection in favor of the Vive. A further complicating factor was that Rift’s main content platform was the Oculus Home Platform. To Oculus/Facebook, Steam was merely a supplementary content supplier, to expand and enlarge upon their repertoire. In contrast, Steam was the unofficial content platform for the Vive, notwithstanding the fact that HTC ran the Viveport Appstore in tandem, in addition to the Viveport subscription service.
Thus it was never entirely clear who had the lead in the battle for hardware installed base. However, the strong suspicion was that Rift was already in the lead. Now the survey confirms this. After the catching up period between October and December 2017, the Vive and Rift were tied in January. A photo finish at that stage would have shown only 0.9% between them - a nose in equine racing terms.
However that all changed in February, when the Rift (excuse the pun) opened up. The survey showed the Rift holding 47.31% of the hardware market and Vive a close second with 45.38. Although the gap is small, it’s the first time that Rift has held the lead at all and as such is significant.
Also, the Oculus DK2 has a further 1.95% of the market and Windows Mixed Reality has 5.36% - up from 5.17% last month. This past point is important, because WMR has only been around for a few months, compared to over two years for the Vive and Rift. When you consider that the survey looks at customer base rather than current sales, this could be ominous. Add to this the fact that WMR can also run Windows apps and Rift apps with Revive and that self-selection element kicks in with a vengeance. The customer base for the WMR range is probably bigger than the survey implies.
As for the head to head between the Vive and the Rift, these figures are all very unofficial. Neither Facebook (owners of Oculus) nor HTC (owners of the Vive) have given out any official sales figures. But the trend is consistent with other data. Rift was also voted the “Most Popular Headset” for the second time.
However none of the competitors are standing still. HTC are about to release the Vive Pro- a high-end headset that will probably have a very high resolution and FoV spec, but will almost certainly command a premium price.