Data released by game publishing giant Valve suggests that price is indeed the key to success in the field of virtual reality (VR), with HTC's Vive headset losing ground to its rival from Oculus VR with a near-10 per cent jump in usage over the past month.
Oculus VR was an early pioneer of the latest generation of virtual reality platforms, combining traditional venture capital with crowd funding to launch developer-centric versions of its Rift headset before coming to the attention of social networking giant Facebook and becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary. With Facebook's impressive bankroll behind it the company has been aggressively expanding, most recently with a temporary price cut that has slashed the cost of the Rift headset and Touch Controllers to just £399 (inc. VAT) in the UK and which is to be followed by a still-discounted regular selling price.
It's that price cut which seems to have driven increased sales of the Rift, with PC Gamer having spotted a change to the trend in Valve's latest hardware survey of gamers using its Steam platform: the Oculus Rift's market share has jumped 8.1 percent bringing it to 43.8 percent - the closest it has been to the Vive's still-majority 52.3 percent since launch.
HTC recently announced a price cut of its own in retaliation, but a 7.7 percent drop in market share as measured by Steam suggests that the Vive's higher £599 selling price is putting off some consumers - and with HTC suffering continuing losses from its smartphone division totalling over half a billion dollars in the last year alone, the rumoured sale or spin-off of its VR division may end up happening sooner rather than later.