Trouble Afoot for VR? Steam Adoption Slows Drastically.

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Trouble Afoot for VR? Steam Adoption Slows Drastically.

We all knew that virtual reality was sort of in its early days, and that, the farther along we went, the more users would come into the virtual reality fold. The problem, however, comes from the realization that new users in VR aren't showing up the way may were expecting, and some were hoping for.

The newest numbers suggest that new HTC Vive owners are up only 0.3 percent for July, and absolutely nothing for August. That's virtually no growth in the space of two months, and not exactly encouraging numbers. Oculus Rift ownership fared little better, up just 0.1 percent more than HTC Vive's numbers, adding that extra tenth of a percent in August during the Vive's flat month.

Grand total, so far, just 0.18 percent of Steam's user base owns a Vive, and even less--0.10 percent--own an Oculus Rift. That's not exactly encouraging, and if these signs continue unaltered, that's going to represent some significant problems going forward in terms of getting developers interested in this market and in developing software for it.

This is especially problematic because, as reports note, the HTC and Oculus Rift stopped having supply issues in July, which meant that, after July, anyone who wanted one could have one, pretty much. Which suggests in turn that the problem was one of demand.

However, there's one component to bear in mind here: the hardware required to support these tools. Both headsets will only work with certain devices of sufficient power to display VR, and those systems cost big money. Pretty much the minimum to enter is about $1,600, and it can go up from there without much trouble. So the idea that VR headsets are proving unpopular likely isn't a hundred percent accurate; there are probably plenty of potential VR users who would love to get in, but need to wait until the systems required to do so drop in price.

Yes, it's dismaying that VR isn't farther along by now, but that's not the problem some may think. It's going to get off to a slow start until system prices drop. But we all know that that's not going to take near as long as some might think, and soon, VR will be in a lot of homes worldwide.

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