In an earnings call with investors Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Oculus “Quest has surpassed our expectations.”
“I wish we could make more of them faster during this period,” he said. “I’m quite pleased with how Quest is doing and I wish we could make more of them.”
While Facebook remains solidly an ad-driven business, Oculus products are driving growth in the company’s “Other” category of revenue. Quest in particular was mentioned in the company’s last quarterly earnings in January as driving growth while “Oculus Products” were reportedly mentioned as leading to first quarter “Other” revenue of $297 million, up 80 percent over the same quarter a year ago.
Facebook hasn’t released sales numbers for any of its consumer VR headsets so the revenue figure and comments during earnings calls remain some of the only ways to judge the health of its VR business. Oculus Quest has been backordered or not available for purchase for months, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but in the last few weeks stock has returned to the company’s own website with more frequency. If you ordered one this week, though, the official Oculus site said it wouldn’t ship until the end of May.
“As people can’t go out into the world as much, the ability to have technology that allows us to…feel present even when we can’t be physically together — whether that’s Quest, or Portal, or any of the software that we’re building around video presence — that stuff has certainly seen especially large spikes in usage,” Zuckerberg said. “And it’s possible that this…accelerates some of the trends around adoption of virtual or augmented reality, but I’m not sure what’ll happen there long-term.”
Facebook continues to invest billions annually in VR and AR research and development. The money is seen as a long term bet that the technologies will create more personal connections that “defy distance.” The company employed a strict console-like curation policy for content sold from its store on Oculus Quest. While SideQuest offers an alternative route for developers to distribute products for the headset, we hear from a number of Quest developers they’re seeing some of their strongest sales on any VR platform for Facebook’s standalone.