Quest 2 a Christmas hit? Oculus app storms Apple charts
Over Christmas, the Oculus app needed to set up Quest 2 landed at the top of the Apple and Android app charts. Developers are also reporting increasing demand in the Oculus Store.
Christmas is the consumer peak of the year, and that's true for many products - including VR. So it's no surprise that virtual reality related searches are high these days in particular, with more VR-apps crossing the virtual counter in the Oculus Store. Thanks to Quest 2, the surge could be especially hefty this year.
Oculus app storms app stores
For Apple, it might be a thorn in its side that Oculus' setup app for Quest 2 landed at the top of the list of most popular free apps in the App Store over Christmas - ahead of TikTok, Snapchat, or Instagram. Apple could counter next year, when the iPhone company is rumored to launch the first Apple Glasses.
On Android, the Oculus app has also been able to rise significantly in the charts and hold on to the top spot. There, it now stands between five and ten million installations. Important: This number does not include downloads for Gear VR, according to former Oculus CTO John Carmack.
No Market pic.twitter.com/eDE0cG6tvX
- Ryan Tremblay (@zaptrem) December 26, 2021
Oculus founder Palmer Luckey predicts Quest 2 will sell more units than Nintendo's classic console Nintendo 64, which has sold around 33 million units worldwide. Quest 2 is currently estimated to sell between five and ten million units - so there's still room for improvement.
VR developers profit from Quest 2 hype
VR developers are also speaking out on Twitter and reporting a significant increase in app sales for Christmas. Ryan Engle, developer of a golf VR app (Golf+), sees a much steeper sales curve than at the same time last year. Indie developer Enrique Fuentes reports the same.
That Christmas spike is real! Happy Oculus Quest 2 day!
For reference yesterday was our best sales day ever and today is already 30% bigger with the better half still to come!
- Ryan Engle (@Rengle820) December 25, 2021
Of course, there may be other factors at play in these anecdotal reports, such as individual app visibility in the Oculus Store. Still, at the moment, it looks like this year's Christmas sales are outpacing last year's with Quest 2. Likewise, YouTubers are coming forward, reporting on increased traffic for their videos.
Silicon Valley investor warns against Christmas hype
However, well-known Silicon Valley investor Benedict Evans, who is skeptical about the mass-market potential of VR, is putting the brakes on euphoria: he doesn't see Christmas sales of "cool-sounding products" pushed into the market by large corporations at cost price as an indication of major market success in the long term.
Evans points to the number of search queries for Amazon's Kindle or Alexa as an example, which remain at an otherwise constant or falling level despite sharp fluctuations at Christmas.
Bloomberg reported a few days ago, based on internal documents from Amazon, that Alexa excites users only in the short term and that Amazon has little growth fantasies in smart speakers. Amazon disagrees with Bloomberg's narrative, Alexa's growth isn't slowing: "The fact is Alexa continues to grow - we're seeing an increase in customer usage, and Alexa is being used in more homes around the world than ever before," a company spokesperson said.
Be careful about Christmas sales surges for cool-sounding products sold at cost with a big company strategic push behind them, but with limited PMF pic.twitter.com/tgZigmyH6L
- Benedict Evans (@benedictevans) December 27, 2021
"Let's wait and see how long people stick with it if Facebook ever gives numbers - a lot of these things (note: VR headsets) are just sitting around in closets," Evans speculates. The star investor is undoubtedly right: for the future of VR, high usage rates are much more important than absolute sales figures.
The previously mentioned VR Golf developer Engle also has an interesting insight on usage: 80 percent of its customers used Quest within the last 28 days. That figure refers to Quest usage in general, not specifically to Engle's golf app, which has been on the market for about 18 months.