April Statistics Show Spike In SteamVR Virtual Reality Use During April

April Statistics Show Spike In SteamVR Virtual Reality Use During April
Credit: Valve via YouTube

As social distancing continues on, we’re all looking for a bit of an escape. Sometimes a move away from reality brings you directly into virtual reality!

In recent statistics released by UploadVR, it was shown that the usage of the SteamVR virtual reality headset had increased by a huge margin. According to UploadVR, the percentage of Steam users with a virtual reality headset increased from 1.29% to 1.91%, an increase of roughly 50%.

“1.91% may not sound like a lot,” UploadVR admits in their report, “but comparing it to other currently niche items on the Hardware Survey shows PC VR is off to a great start already. In fact, if the current trend keeps up, within two months we can expect more Steam users will use a VR headset than a 4k primary monitor.”

UploadVR makes the bulk of the reasoning behind the recent surge in virtual reality usage to primarily be thanks to the success of Valve’s Half-Life: Alyx. While undoubtedly a large reason for the upsurge, it’s far from the only reason.

Instead, the most likely reason may belong to April being the first full month of social distancing and quarantines in much of the world. Throughout the beginning of March, as COVID-19 was ramping up, there were still plenty of outdoor activities and events yet to be canceled. By the start of April, however, most of the country was already under lockdown, or at least self-imposed quarantines.

With so many people holing up inside and more and more businesses closing down in response to the pandemic, it’s only sensible that people would be using a system more throughout the entire month. This could be one of the main causes for the upsurge in virtual reality usage, as countless games and systems reported record-high numbers recently.

Of course, that isn’t to say Half-Life: Alyx isn’t playing a part in the upsurge. Much of the gaming community has been looking forward to a new game in the Half-Life franchise for an incredibly long time, and there’s no doubt that there were plenty of people purchasing a virtual reality system just for that game alone.

It’ll be interesting to look at these statistics again at the end of May and see how much of it may have continued. If Half-Life is truly to blame for the increase in usage, it’ll likely die down by the end of May, as most players will move on after finishing the game. However, if it’s more fueled by social distancing, we’ll likely see the numbers continue to grow.