The surprise announcement of a new Half-Life game was absolutely guaranteed to stir up the legions of rabid fans. Valve knew exactly what they were doing when they announced Half-Life: Alyx. The reveal of the VR Half-Life title caused Valve’s own VR platform, Valve Index, to go out of stock in some markets, notably in the US and Canada.
The new game follows Alyx Vance in her adventures assisting the resistance against the Combine occupation. The company knew it had something fans would love pretty early on though, so they had to see this coming. “We thought we had something playtesters would finish in 15 minutes, and instead, players spent 45 minutes exploring it, and didn’t want to stop,” said Half-Life: Alyx programmer Robin Walker.
The problem with this strategy though is that VR has a notably limited reach. According to the most recent Valve Hardware Survey in October 2019, only 37% of PC users have rigs rated as “VR Ready”. Only 1.03 per cent of users use a VR headset and of these, 0.05 per cent own a Valve Index. The number of users that this game is aimed at extremely low.
Before the Half-Life: Alyx announcement, Steam’s Canadian and U.S. store sites had stocks of three different bundles related to the game. Each one is now sold out: the headset, controllers, and Half-Life: Alyx; headset and Half-Life: Alyx; and the controllers and Half-Life: Alyx. And given the price of this game and these related bundles, it’s surprising that they all sold out so quickly. The Index, base stations, controllers, and Half-Life: Alyx bundle is priced at $999.00, or £919.00. People must really like Half-Life.
Half-Life: Alyx is out for the Valve Index in March, 2020.