Valve’s Index HMD is now used by more people on Steam than the original Oculus Rift, according to the Hardware Survey. Index grew more than any other headset in July, now the tool of choice for 14.45% of Steam’s VR users.
The original Rift launched in 2016 for $599- excluding the Touch controllers, which shipped in December for $199. By late 2017, a $399 bundle emerged, likely in response to weak sales.
Valve’s Index launched just over three years after the original Rift. Existing HTC Vive owners can purchase the headset ($499) or controllers ($279) alone, otherwise, the full bundle is priced at $999- much higher than any Oculus or Windows MR alternative.
That price tag is what makes Index’s success so far remarkable. Though Valve seemed to struggle to meet demand for much of the year, it’s now the headset used by roughly 1 in 7 VR users on Steam.
For that price, buyers get a slightly wider field of view, an ultra-smooth 144 Hz refresh rate, loud punchy off-ear audio, lens separation adjustment, lens distance adjustment, color passthrough cameras, and premium comfortable materials.
Facebook’s Oculus Rift S replaced the original Rift with a different approach, optimizing for a much lower launch price of $399. It uses fixed lenses and low quality mini speakers in the straps for basic audio. Though Rift S is used more on Steam, the difference is no longer as dramatic as it was.
Of course, Rift S isn’t Facebook’s only SteamVR-capable headset. The main target of its attention recently has been Oculus Quest.
While Quest is essentially a self-contained console, it can also act as a PC headset via USB cable or wirelessly (with added latency) via apps like Virtual Desktop. Quest usage grew on Steam in July by 1.26 percentage points.
HTC’s Vive Cosmos, the replacement for the original Vive, remains stagnant in the survey, unable to make its case between the affordable Rift S and high quality Valve Index. The Hardware Survey now lists the SteamVR-tracked Cosmos Elite variant, which saw minor growth.
Windows MR still isn’t recovering from its gradual decline, though the upcoming HP Reverb G2 could be poised to finally reverse the trend. The overall ‘Steam users with VR Headsets‘ figure increased from 1.67% to 1.93%.