Several developers have indicated Christmas 2021 was a big moment for the VR industry and Meta’s Quest 2 headset.
Over the last few years, the Christmas period has become an increasingly huge milestone day of growth for virtual reality and VR developers, particularly in the post-2019 Quest era. However, this year looks to be the biggest Christmas for VR yet, with developers sharing statistics that indicate the biggest day of growth yet.
Famously, Meta does not release any sales numbers for Quest headsets themselves at Christmas or at any other point in the year. This means we’re left trying to roughly estimate how the size of the Quest install base based on various other unofficial data points. This week’s developer tweets are a good example of that.
The Oculus app, which is required for new users to set up a headset, rocketed up to #1 on the Apple App Store charts on Christmas, beating out popular and near-ubiquitous social media apps TikTok, YouTube and Instagram. If the Oculus app chart position indicates strong new headset take-up, then app sales numbers and player base growth shows that those new owners were keen to get in on VR experiences as well.
Social VR experience Rec Room (which is available for free on VR and non-VR platforms and is consistently at the top of the Oculus Store charts) saw record numbers over Christmas, with over 1 million VR players logging into the platform across a 60 hour period. This is huge growth – it was only earlier this year that Rec Room hit the same milestone (1 million VR players logging in) across an entire month. The company is currently hiring for over 60 positions.
Dennys Kuhnert, developer of Hand Physics Lab, said that Christmas Day sales of the app were “unprecedented”. He also shared an unlabelled sales graph for Hand Physics Lab, showing a huge upwards spike that looks to be roughly double the previous high point of sales on the app’s launch day.
One developer of Golf+ noted that they had to “scale up to manage the CCUs [concurrently connected users]” on Christmas Day. Another Golf+ developer noted that sales across the 2021 Christmas period surpassed 2020 significantly, with December 24 2021 fleetingly becoming the game’s “best sales day ever”, only to be immediately (and significantly) surpassed the next day on Christmas.
Twitter user @henrilatr pointed out to UploadVR Editor-in-Chief Ian Hamilton that Eleven Table Tennis experienced a large spike in online players on Christmas Day, going from peaks of roughly 800 players across the December 21-24 to new peaks of 1800+ players on Christmas Day. These new peaks have stayed roughly stable since Christmas through December 28.
Sam Watts, a developer at Make Real VR, indicated he was happy with the revenue chart for Loco Dojo Unleashed on Christmas Day, sharing an unlabelled chart with a line that spikes upwards in a similar fashion to the apps above.
Developer of popular multiplayer game Gorilla Tag indicated huge player numbers as well, citing an “absolutely bonkers” 344,000 unique users (and a peak of 26,000 concurrent users) across the Christmas weekend. It’s also worth nothing that Gorilla Tag isn’t even available on the Oculus Store for Quest 2 – it’s listed on App Lab, meaning new users on that platform would have to have found or searched for a link to the app somewhere online. Quest 2 users would not have been led to the app organically while in VR like the other apps listed above, making this a pretty significant achievement even when accounting for PC VR players, as the game is sold on Steam as well.
This is likely just a tiny snapshot of what has been one of the most profitable and huge periods of growth in VR history. Many of the apps above are available across multiple VR platforms including Quest 2, PC VR and PSVR. However, it’s clear that even if some growth is being driven by the latter two platforms, it’s Meta’s Quest 2 that is likely driving most of this insane growth. Anecdotally, more people than ever are sharing videos of new users (of all demographics but particularly younger children) unwrapping and playing with new Quest 2 headsets this Christmas.
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