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Mark Zuckerberg, impoverished by $31 billion due to Facebook's first-ever quarterly decline in daily visitors, is likely to find solace in his company's virtual reality business this week. While Facebook (now known as Meta) has not disclosed the number of users of its Oculus VR platform, the latest figures from Steam, the largest online distributor of computer video games with 120 million monthly users, suggest that Meta's virtual reality (VR) business is taking the lead and increasing.

Meta's devices account for 67% of all VR equipment used on the Steam platform. The second most popular headset, Valve Index, accounts for just 14% of the total devices, followed by HTC at 11% and Microsoft at about 5%.

The Steam platform, which the same company owns as Valve Index, periodically releases user statistics regarding the types of processors and hardware used. The latest survey covers the range from August 2020 to January 2022.

How Meta has gained dominance in the VR space 

Among other things, in addition to the dominance of Meta's Oculus Quest and Rift headsets on Steam, the study notes a 6.39% increase in Meta Quest 2 registered users over the same period. And since 2020, Meta's cumulative share of the total number of Steam users has increased by 43%.

One of the main reasons for the significant growth is that Meta Quest 2, now the company's leading VR device, is mobile, doesn't need a PC, and, at $299, is the least expensive full-featured VR headset on the market.

And while Meta may catch up with Microsoft, Google, and Snap in the field of augmented reality (AR), which is now more of a business tool than VR, with games playing a significant role, Zuckerberg's bet on the metaverse is paying off where consumer engagement is currently at its highest.

Facebook's defeat could be the beginning for Meta to conquer the VR market

While some unconfirmed reports claim otherwise, Meta's head of VR, Andrew Bosworth, reported that the company has yet to reach 10 million VR users, making the VR portion negligible compared to Facebook's nearly 3 billion visitors.

However, the gradual decline in daily Facebook users compared to the growth in VR users indicates shifts that market analysts have yet to account for entirely. In addition, the drop in the number of daily Facebook users may be exaggerated, as the number of monthly active users did increase from 2.91 billion to 2.912 billion last quarter.

Meta invested $10 billion in its VR and AR products last year, which generated only $2.27 billion in revenue. If Zuckerberg's plans include attracting 1 billion people to his VR platform, this investment could secure the company's place in the future of the metaverse.

VR headset Meta Quest 2 leads on Steam

Valve unveiled an updated Steam Hardware & Software Survey report revealing which components Steam users often use. The Meta Quest 2 (formerly Oculus) is the most in-demand VR headset, with a market share of about 46 percent.

Market analysts estimate that global shipments of XR headsets have grown 348% since 2020, and Meta itself owns nearly three-quarters of the market share. The company must continue this growth if it expects to be the face of the metaverse.

Of course, competition drives innovation, and HTC does not intend to stay away. Last spring, the company unveiled two new VR headsets. The Vive Focus 3 has two 2.5K resolution displays, which together give a total resolution of 5K. Meanwhile, the PC-focused Vive Pro 2 has the exact combined 5K resolution but a refresh rate of 120 Hz. 

HTC is also looking to contribute to the business by offering several developments for enterprise customers. With the Vive Sync app, teams can hold team meetings. 

Contrary to the global pandemic and chip shortage, the AR and VR business appears alive and well. Perhaps the meta-version will come after all, given that other companies, such as Apple, are about to announce their own XR solutions.