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The 2021 holiday season was very likely the best yet for the Oculus Quest 2. For the first time ever, holiday search volume in the US for the headset exceeded major gaming consoles like PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox.
The holidays have always been a peak time for VR. As the technology has grown increasingly more affordable and easier to use, it has become a hot gift item thanks to its novelty. The 2021 holiday season however may well have been VR’s biggest moment yet, lead by Quest 2.
For the first time ever this year we’ve seen search volume in the US for a single headset exceed the latest major game consoles.
Above we can see that US search volume for Oculus Quest leapt massively right around Christmas, seemingly in response to many new users opening headsets and then turning to Google to learn more about them.
This was the first time since the release of Quest that searches for any single headset have edged out those for the latest consoles from Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox.
Zooming out on the timeline a bit, to the start of the holiday shopping season, we can see that searches for Oculus Quest similarly spiked around Black Friday, but not nearly enough to eclipse the major game consoles. While the consoles enjoyed the bulk of search volume in general, Christmas day saw Quest searches rocket to the top.
Although it’s an interesting milestone, we certainly can’t use the data to conclude that Quest sold better than the major consoles. While that could be the case, it seems likely that the surge in Quest searches has much to do with it being a relatively new product (and likely the first-ever headset for many), which means lots of ‘new product’ questions to be answered. On the other hand, game consoles are a far more mature product category with users that are less likely to have heaps of questions to be searched for.
And it’s worth keeping things in perspective. While it’s pretty impressive that there were more people out there searching for Quest this holiday than any time previously, it’s still only about half of the search volume seen for iPhone, even at its peak. Here’s the same chart as above, but with iPhone thrown into the mix.
The big question is how many of the new users brought in during the holidays will stick around for the long haul? VR has always had the ‘wow factor’, but long-term retention is a challenge given the barriers to using a headset compared to, say, sitting down on a couch to play a game console. Will Quest’s biggest holiday yet translate into its biggest year yet in 2022? Only time will tell.
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