Half-Life: Alyx Driving a Strong Demand for the Valve Index VR Headset
According to the Steam store page, the Valve Index virtual reality system for PCs can now be back-ordered until after Christmas.
The development comes barely a week after the announcement of Half-Life: Alyx which is Valve Index’s first “flagship” virtual reality game. According to the store page, it is listed as out of stock “due to recent high demand”. The more likely reason for the backorder situation is the recent announcement of Alyx that is set to hit the market in early 2020. This is the time that the backorder is happening since the launch of the fairly pricey Valve Index headsets.
All Valve Index purchases made before the end of 2019 will come with a free copy of the $60 Alyx game as well as extras such as “environments from Half-Life: Alyx” in the headset owner’s SteamVR Home Space as well as “alternate gun skins” for embellishing Alyx’s arsenal. Also, some of Alyx’s optional interactions will only be possible when played with the Valve Index controllers.
At a price $999 for the full bundle, the Valve Index headset is steeply priced. The price is more than double that of the Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest headsets. The $999 price can in fact fetch you all the three Facebook virtual reality headsets.
With Valve Index, users will get the best overall virtual reality experience so far for the price. Its high refresh rate allows for seamless movement which feels almost real. The audio quality is impressive and the headset controllers enables a very natural intuitive interaction. The Index also has a wider field of view that immerses the user more into the virtual experience.
Great hardware alone isn’t sufficient to sell a VR system; it also requires great content. According to Valve’s Hardware Survey, the Index currently accounts for less than 5% of the virtual reality headsets on Steam.
The Survey also shows that the demand for the Valve Index demand has significantly increased following the announcement of Half-Life: Alyx. This shows that AAA games from a company can go a long way in kickstarting interest in virtual reality hardware.
Both Facebook and Sony are already using this strategy to drive the adoption of their VR hardware and Valve is catching up fast in adopting the same principle to push its hardware to the market.