Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) seems to have had a great holiday season with their Oculus VR headset. Analysts at KeyBanc Capital and Jefferies found in reports last week that the Oculus app downloads skyrocketed after Christmas.
Jefferies’ Brent Thill added that the app’s active user base was up 90% on December 25th from the same day last year.
Facebook has never regularly published data on the sales of Oculus devices, the developer of which bought it for $ 2 billion in 2014. IDC’s preliminary estimates put the company’s VR device sales between 5.3 million and 6.8 million units in 2021, but the exact dates won’t be revealed until after the analyst firm’s fourth quarterly report is released.
Either way, that’s better than the 3.5 million Oculus units sold last year, analysts estimate. And that’s a lot better than the weak sales before the company launched its first Quest headset in mid-2019. The popularity of Oculus has increased significantly since the device was no longer connected to a PC with a cable, which severely limited its attractiveness even for gamers.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has long since made it clear that his ambition for Oculus goes far beyond gaming. Proponents of the Metaverse concept insist that this idea isn’t all about virtual reality. But VR is one of the main technologies that differentiates such a virtual world from simply surfing the Internet on computers and mobile devices. “Without VR, there is no (effect) presence. And presence is the key. “ – said VR market analyst Stephanie Llamas from VoxPop.
As a result, a company that relies on the Metaverse will have to transfer a lot more devices to a lot more hands. Oculus’ estimated revenue over the past five years accounts for less than 3% of Facebook’s daily user base in North America and Europe, two markets that make up most of its business. Also, one can only guess how many people who got a headset for Christmas will not be regular users. And some of the most recently sold devices could have been bought by Meta’s own employees who want to speak to the boss directly – the Wall Street Journal reported that Zuckerberg has recently been holding more internal virtual reality meetings.
The idea of Facebook’s metamorphosis suggests that enough people will be willing to spend hundreds of dollars to connect to the company-controlled virtual world.