Meta’s Oculus was the US’s most-downloaded app on Christmas

A conference-goer tests the original Oculus Quest headset in 2019.
A conference-goer tests the original Oculus Quest headset in 2019.

The holiday season has been kind to Meta Platforms, the Facebook parent company that recently rebranded to tout its commitment to building the metaverse.

Downloads of the app to support Oculus, Meta’s virtual reality brand, rose to the top of the mobile app store charts after Christmas, suggesting its headsets were popular gifts this year. Before this week, Oculus was a top 10 iOS app in only one country—the US—but by Dec. 26 became a top five app in 14 different countries and the number one app in the US, according to Justin Patterson, an equity research analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets. The app topped the Google Play store on Android devices as well.

Oculus was downloaded 1.3 million times globally between Dec. 21-27 between both major app marketplaces, according to the app analytics firm Sensor Tower, a 363% increase in new downloads week over week. Sensor Tower counts 13 million lifetime installs of the app, meaning that 10% came this past week.

The company’s current model, the Quest 2, retails for $299 or $399 depending on storage.

Oculus and the metaverse

Oculus, which Facebook bought for $2.3 billion in 2014, has become central to Meta’s planned transformation from social media giant to metaverse pioneer. In October, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out his vision for the metaverse, an immersive next generation version of the internet powered by virtual and augmented reality. Zuckerberg presented a detailed but not-yet-built vision of the metaverse through Oculus goggles.

Oculus’ Christmastime success could also be attributed to a shortage in video game consoles like Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Nintendo’s Switch OLED, KeyBanc’s Patterson wrote in an analyst note. The global chip shortage and high consumer demand have made video game consoles, ever popular holiday gifts, hard to come by.

Meta did not immediately respond to a request for data about its holiday sales, but its devices are among the most popular in VR. Oculus is cheaper than much of the competition—HTC's Vive Pro 2, for example, retails for $799—and is considered an industry standard.

This article was updated to include data from Sensor Tower.

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