Holiday season

Facebook’s Quest 2 VR headset was a hot giveaway this holiday season

A photo of the Quest 2 on festive snowflakes.

It was a white Christmas for new VR gamers.
Picture: Meta / Kotaku

This holiday season, the Quest 2 VR headset had gotten off to a rocky start, with reviewers praising the VR headset’s technology but citing its mandatory Facebook integration. This year, with Facebook restrictions relaxed, Xbox and PlayStation consoles being hard to find, and the imaginary rise of some sort of techno-magical metaverse, interest in Quest 2 was at an all-time high. The headset even surpassed traditional consoles in Google search volume for the first time ever. Is it finally time for VR?

I was pretty sure that the time of virtual reality should have started with the release of the Original quest in 2019, back when it was the Oculus Quest, not the Meta Quest or what the company formerly known as Facebook now calls it. It eliminated all the annoyances of early VR headsets – high cost, expensive PC hardware requirements, expansive play space, and reliance on external tracking. All a user had to do was charge the headset, put batteries in the controllers, and they were good to go. It was as easy to use as VR was likely to be, while still being able to deliver performance and gaming far beyond the cheap Android headsets they sell at Walmart.

The Quest was the best thing to happen to VR since the modern era of VR began. The Quest 2, with its increased power and glossy white exterior, should have been an immediate huge hit. But Facebook’s insistence that users log into their social media account to access games and other content derailed the standalone headset hype train when it launched in October 2020.

Cut to this past holiday season, and the hype train seems to be back on track. Case in point: as noted by virtual reality experts from Road to Virtual Reality, at the height of the holiday season, the Quest 2 surpassed the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch in relative search volume on Google. The VR headset’s Google spike was brief and mostly focused on the Christmas weekend, suggesting new users looking for setup advice, or gift card recipients looking for something to buy. The thing is, this is the first time the VR headset has surpassed the search volume of traditional game consoles since its launch.

A graph showing the relative search volume of PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, and Quest 2 during the holiday season, with Quest 2 surpassing all others around December 25.

The developers of some of the best VR games have also noticed an increase in Quest game sales over the holiday season. Chandana Ekanayake, creator of the excellent falcon age, noted the two-year bird adventure sales peak on Twitter.

As Ekanayake notes, there were no special sales for the game to coincide with Christmas. The spike is solely from new Quest owners looking for the best games to play on their devices.

Did I mention falcon age is the cutest VR game ever?
GIF: Outer loop games

Due to the relatively slow adoption of virtual reality compared to conventional game consoles, high-quality games have a very long tail in the market. Another example is super hot VR, the VR version of the incredible time-consuming action game. Originally released in late 2016 as an exclusive for Oculus Rift, the game’s revenue has continued to grow year over year. According to data from IndieBI game sales tracking site, tweeted by co-founder of the Callum Underwood website, projected revenue for the game is up 42% from last year, mainly due to the Quest version.

A graph showing the percentage of Superhot VR sales by platform, with the Quest dominating since 2019.

If you want to get into VR, it seems Quest 2 is the way to go right now. And if you’re looking for a unique gaming experience that’s cheaper than the Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and OLED Switch, the $299 Quest 2 is also your best bet. Affordability, availability and accessibility are exactly the reasons why the Quest 2 tops Amazon’s video game charts from Black Friday to Cyber ​​Monday this year. And although Sony recently dropped details about the Awesome sounding PlayStation VR2, a headset that requires a $400-$500 console is unlikely to outperform the much cheaper standalone hardware.

Quest 2 has momentum, and with everyone talking about the VR metaverse these days, that momentum is only going to grow. Want to enter the bottom floor of the Metaverse? All it takes is $300 and you’ll be fumbling VRChat wondering what the hell you got yourself into in no time.

Meta isn’t sharing specific sales numbers at this time, but when contacted for comment, a rep said so. Kotaku that the Quest 2 “was a very popular gift this holiday”, further noting that the Oculus app, needed to set up new hardware, was the number one app on Google Play and the iTunes App Store on Christmas Day.

On December 27 last year, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, who left the company in 2017, made a prediction on Twitter. “Quest 2 will outsell the Nintendo 64.” The Nintendo 64 sold nearly 33 million units worldwide during its lifetime. Earlier this year, the Quest 2 was estimated to have shipped ten million units since its October 2020 launch. While it seems more likely that a Quest 3 will release before the 2 hits 33 million, who knows? what could happen in the coming year.

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