Virtual reality gaming keeps confirming its expansion in 2020

SuperData, a Nielsen company that analyzes digital games and interactive media market, reported record numbers for Q4 2020, ratifying a great year for gaming technology and content.

The standalone Oculus Quest 2 is driving VR adoption among mainstream consumers.
The standalone Oculus Quest 2 is driving VR adoption among mainstream consumers.

SuperData has updated its indicators about VR headsets sales over the last year. In Q4 2020, Oculus Quest 2 headsets sold over 1 million units. There were more units in a single quarter than any VR device that is not powered by a smartphone. The Quest 2 benefitted from a lower price than its predecessor and also from pent-up demand among those interested in joining the VR audience. The original Quest was sold out during much of 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19 on supply chains. The Quest 2 was also the first Oculus headset to launch around the holiday season, so its addressable audience included gift givers in addition to VR enthusiasts.

Standalone devices like the Quest 2 are set to account for 87% of new VR headset sales in 2021. Since the Quest 2 can be used to play VR games at PCs, a significant share of PC gamers are expected to opt for the Quest and similar ‘hybrid devices,’ when purchasing a VR headset in the future. The most devoted enthusiasts will likely continue to favor high-end devices, including the Valve Index and HP Reverb G2.

About stats from all 2020, SuperData had released its ‘2020 Year in Review’ report. The document highlighted important figures, with XR (virtual reality and augmented reality) earning US$6.7 billion in 2020, and VR game earnings jumping 25% year-over-year (2020 vs. 2019) to US$589 million. Overall VR headset shipments fell 15% in 2020, but sales of standalone devices grew 19% during the year. In contrast to the adoption of headsets, the once-popular premium mobile segment effectively died during 2020, as platform holders dropped support for the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream. PlayStation VR sales also declined due to a lack of new content, as Sony focused on the launch of the PlayStation 5. The impact of COVID-19 on production lines meant headsets like the Oculus Quest and Valve Index were sold out through much of 2020. However, those who already owned headsets engaged with them more often. In the spring, 71% of U.S. VR headset owners spent more time on their devices than in the past due to pandemic. For 2021, SuperData predicts that interactive entertainment earnings will rise 2%.