Tim Sweeney, one of the founders of Epic Games and creator of the Unreal Engine, recently took the stage at Steam Dev Days, and among other things, he said that HTC's Vive, created with Valve's help, is outselling the Oculus Rift by a large margin. According to Sweeney, HTC's fully open premium VR platform is outperforming Oculus' somewhat more locked down kit by double on the world stage, and he said that the trend is quite likely to continue. He went on to say that the total PC-based VR scene has thus far seen sales of only a little bit over 500,000, which means that Oculus has sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 170,000 units, while the Vive has sold about 340,000, if Sweeney's figures were correct.
In truth, HTC confirmed that the Vive had sold somewhere north of 140,000 units back in November. While the Holiday season could certainly have provided a boost, it would seem that either HTC is grossly under-representing their sales, Sweeney's figure of over 500,000 is off somehow, other players are involved in his number, or the divide doesn't quite play out the way that he thinks it does. In any case, the Vive's sales thus far have been impressive, given its high price point, and Sweeney says that this is due in part to how open the ecosystem is. The Oculus Rift, while it can be used with a number of different VR experiences, comes out of the box locked down to the Oculus Store.
Sweeney also described a near future where premium VR was just as easy to find and easy to use as mobile gaming is now. According to Sweeney, such ubiquity could be achieved as soon as 2030 or so. He also said that the video game industry's handling of VR is tantamount to how it will be regarded and treated by creators of all sorts of content and experiences going forward, making a good performance on the gaming front key to VR becoming the dominant player in the future of human and computer interaction. While pricey premium headsets that require a beastly computer and tangibly compromising smartphone-based experiences are certainly not going to build us to the era that he describes, they've apparently served as a more than adequate start, if the public's perception of VR is any indication.