Facebook released its Q1 2021 earnings report and it paints quite a rosy picture for the company’s involvement in the future of VR and AR devices. Lining up with the previous quarter — where developers and analysts alike estimated the Oculus Quest 2 sold between 2-3 million units — Quest 2 seems to have sold another 2 million units so far in 2021, according to analysts. If estimates are correct, that means that the Quest 2 now has an install base of up to 5 million users; a milestone that’s incredibly impressive when compared to any other before it.
Up until now, the most successful VR headset of all time is the PlayStation VR which, according to Sony’s official estimates, has sold just over 5 million units since launching in 2016. That means Facebook’s second-generation standalone VR headset sold as many units in 6 months as Sony sold in 5 years. PSVR 2 will undoubtedly be a great headset when it comes out in the near future but, for now, Facebook is showing that it’s a power player that many didn’t expect. In the earnings call, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out why he believes Quest has been such a success:
Now, achieving Quest’s high quality in a wireless form factor has been a major breakthrough. Having wires wrapped around you really breaks the sense of presence and immersion. The technology to deliver a great experience wirelessly is very advanced, and most companies aren’t going to be able to deliver this, but we believe that it’s the minimum bar for a high quality experience.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO
At the moment, there is no real direct competition for Facebook in the standalone VR market segment. Companies like HTC, Google, and Lenovo have launched competing products in the past but none have caught on quite the way the Quest 2, in particular, has. Quest 2 also outsold the original Quest in a matter of 7 weeks after launch, showing just how much more successful it has been over its predecessor. Facebook doesn’t release actual sales numbers of its hardware, but estimates based on revenue are generally pretty accurate. Several of the best Quest 2 games have sold well over a million copies, as well.
Looking at these numbers in a broader market sense, Quest 2 is keeping pace with the likes of Microsoft’s Xbox Series X|S and the Sony PlayStation 5. Just two weeks ago, market analysts show that Sony has sold over 7.8 million PS5s, making it the fastest-selling console in U.S. history. Given that VR has largely been a niche gaming category up until now, it’s impressive to see the Quest 2’s sales numbers so close to the PS5. UploadVR also reports that a GDC 2021 survey shows the majority of VR developers are now making games for the Quest platform, showing a shift across the industry toward Quest, as a whole.