In context: After a brief popularity surge prompted by the release of exciting new VR titles like Half-Life: Alyx and Boneworks, the VR gaming industry has returned to normal — largely stagnant — growth, at least on Steam.

The results of Steam’s latest monthly hardware survey are in, and they show VR usage has fallen from nearly two percent back down to 1.88 percent. That might seem like a small drop, but there’s some important context to think about.

Prior to the release of Half-Life: Alyx, VR usage on Steam had been steadily, but very slowly, growing at a rate of about .10 percent per month.

However, when April 2020 rolled around — the month after Alyx’s release — usage skyrocketed from about 1.3 percent (over 1 million users) to the record-high 1.93 percent (closer to 2.7 million users) we hinted at before.

Now, we’ve returned back to these smaller, .10-.20 percent-per-month growth jumps. In other words, though the overall usage numbers are still much higher than they were earlier this year, real-world growth has normalized for a variety of reasons — Covid-19-related financial difficulties and the lack of any new system sellers, to name a couple.

Nonetheless, since there are nearly 20 million concurrent Steam users active at any given time, even small percentage movements can’t be ignored: VR usage is still rising. However, faster growth probably won’t happen unless major blockbusters like Alyx release much more consistently.