During Wednesday’s Meta Connect keynote presentation, the company announced a new event for its line of Ready-to-order headphones: $2 billion in lifetime income from Iberia apps and software since the platform was launched back in 2019. At first glance, that has a pretty large number that suggests the formation of a pretty healthy VR software ecosystem.
But viewed in context, Ars’ analysis suggests Quest’s software market is roughly the same size as that for the Wii U at the same point in its short life cycle. That’s not a great comparison for the Meta to face, since the Wii U was considered an embarrassing flop by the standards of the video game market.
Compare apples to… VR apples
In making a comparison, Ars compared Wii U software unit sales numbers to Nintendo’s own quarterly report to estimate software sales numbers based on Meta’s occasionally public announcements of start access milestones. To convert revenue numbers to sales figures for Demand, Ars divides Demand’s total revenue by the median sales price for best-selling Quest software ($19.99) and the average retail price for the same software ($17.60).
These unit estimates are necessarily rough and do not directly account for revenue generated from Quest DLC, as Hit SaberPopular music compositions. They also don’t accept bundled Premium software that you buy on platforms like Sidequest or itch.iowhich is not included in Meta’s physical numbers.
Even accounting for those adjustments, though, the software products for Wii U and Quest (at similar points in their lifecycles) would seem to be in similar areas. The Wii U’s sales of nearly 99 million software units in its first 1,594 days on the market comes after the roughly 100 to 114 million pieces Meta Software Quest sold in 1,559 days, according to Ars estimates.
To match the Question, software sales for the handset have shown a definite upward trajectory since the launch of Question 2 in October 2020. If you look at the 16 months of Question 1 Software Sales that prior to Quest 2’s launch, the headset was selling software at a significantly faster rate than the Wii U. Meta also deserves credit for building Quest’s software library from what was essentially a startup into a powerful storefront. with more than 500 applications. Compare the new VR platform to a Nintendo console you can depend on ultra-popular first-party franchises developed over decades is not completely fair to new players.
At the same time, many games of the most popular first team of Wii U regularly sold for $59.99, with very rare official discounts. That means Nintendo’s console probably generates more overall software revenue than cheaper software on the Quest. The Wii U is still selling its software to 13.57 million Wii U owners (as of March 2017), compared to reports of over 20 million Quest headsets sold so far. This suggests that the average Quest owner spends a lot more on software than the average Wii U owner does.
Reports from earlier this year suggest that only Level 6 owners still use their headphones at least once a month as of last October. That may help explain why healthy Quest hardware sales haven’t translated into Quest software sales at the same level.