When the Oculus Quest 2 launched last October, no one could have predicted just how well it would go on to sell. Over the past year alone, we've seen the headset rebranded to Meta Quest 2 — owing to the namesake change of what is now Facebook's parent company, Meta — and the headset hit a magic milestone that Meta's VR team has been aiming for since its launch: 10 million units sold.
That number comes from the latest Qualcomm investor day presentation and it corroborates what we've been seeing all year long. The Quest 2 is the best selling VR headset by a significant amount, doubling Sony's PSVR sales — which were around 5 million at the end of 2019, the last publicly-available figure Sony boasted about — and it achieved all of this in just a single year of availability, while the PSVR has been around since 2016.
But why has it been so successful? In a nutshell: it's the damned finest VR experience you'll get anywhere, and it only costs $300.
This isn't a sponsored post or anything like that. It's a love letter to one of the best pieces of electronics I've ever owned. The Quest 2 has done what only the Quest before it could, and it does just about everything better than its predecessor. It's something every gamer should give their attention to this Holiday season, especially with the amazing Quest 2 Cyber Monday deals going on.
It's a console, baby
While many have been trying their hardest to score a PS5 or an Xbox Series X|S, getting a Quest 2 has been easy throughout the past year. That's, obviously, not because it hasn't been selling well. Quite the contrary. In the same timeframe — that's October 2020 to October 2021 — Sony says it sold 13.4 million PS5 systems.
Meta has sold almost as many Quest 2's in the past year as Sony has sold PS5's.
That's just roughly 3 million more than the Quest 2 from the most popular gaming brand in the world, PlayStation.
You could say Sony's numbers are artificially low because of supply issues but then you'd also have to assume Meta faced the same problems building Quest 2 units throughout the year.
Throughout Black Friday and into Cyber Monday, the Quest 2 has sat atop the Amazon best sellers list in the video games category, eclipsing every system Amazon sells and even over simple gift cards for PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo. That's, quite frankly, an unbelievable position for VR to be in right now given that it was a "niche" category not just a year ago.
No, the numbers we're seeing aren't just because of market conditions or some other factor. These sales numbers are happening because the Quest 2 is incredible and it doesn't require anything else to work. It's a $300 console — that's the same price as the regular Nintendo Switch — and its fully self-contained nature means you won't have to fiddle with a PC and its plethora of problems every time you turn it on.
Setting up a Quest 2 is as easy as charging it up, putting it on your head, and jumping into a virtual world.
Setting up a Quest 2 is as easy as charging it up, putting it on your head, and jumping into a virtual world. For this veteran VR gamer who has been frustrated with PC VR problems since the original Oculus development kits were a thing back before 2015, it's a breath of fresh air.
The updates keep coming
Meta has released a Quest platform update every single month throughout 2020 and 2021 and, as far as we know, plans to keep doing so for the foreseeable future. In the past year, the Quest 2 has received more platform updates and feature upgrades than any console in history, dwarfing offerings from companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.
In the past year, the Quest 2 has received more platform updates and feature upgrades than any console in history.
The Quest 2 has progressed from software version 22 at launch to the most recent update, version 34, and with that progression came significant improvements and brand-new ways to use the system.
Over the past year, we've been introduced to Oculus Move for better workout-tracking, App Lab for indie titles, Air Link for wireless PC VR gaming, a 120Hz upgrade for the Quest 2's display, an overhauled chat and web browser experience, ways to multitask and install Android apps, and even ways to work in VR.
In the near future, Meta will be delivering an update that drops the Facebook account requirement for the Quest 2, meaning your presence in VR will no longer be tied to your Facebook account. That's great news for a host of reasons but, most especially, because you will no longer be able to get banned from the Quest if your Facebook account gets banned or disabled.
Developers who didn't make much money before are now making millions, helping to fund future game development and create even better games than we already have.
The future is very bright for VR, but it's not just because lots of Quest 2's have been sold over the past year. It's because Quest 2 owners have been spending a ton of money on games. Developers who didn't make much money before are now making millions, helping to fund future game development and create even better games than we already have.
It's exactly what VR needed, and it's exactly what you need to get for yourself (or someone you love) this year.