The Coronavirus Is Ruining Valve’s Plan To Restock Index VR Units Prior To Half-Life: Alyx’s Release

The Coronavirus Is Ruining Valve’s Plan To Restock Index VR Units Prior To Half-Life: Alyx’s Release
Credit: Valve via YouTube

So when Valve announced Half-Life: Alyx, the upcoming prequel/sequel spin-off that’s coming exclusively to VR, gamers lost their collective minds and snatched up almost every Valve Index VR headset in the entire world. At one point, Japan was the only market on the planet that still had some headsets.

Needless to say, there’s a bit of anticipation for the upcoming return trip to City 17. The game ships in March and Valve was working hard in hopes of replenishing their stock before then. Unfortunately, due to the spread of the coronavirus, it looks like the stock is going to be a little lighter than the publisher had intended.

While we still don’t know the full capabilities of the coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2, it’s been wreaking havoc in more ways than one. Here’s (a portion of) Valve’s statement on the matter.

“With Half-Life: Alyx coming March 23rd, we are working hard to meet demand for the Valve Index and want to reassure everyone that Index systems will be available for purchase prior to the game’s launch. However, the global Coronavirus health crisis has impacted our production schedules so we will have far fewer units for sale during the coming months compared to the volumes we originally planned.”

The good news is that you don’t have to have the Valve Index to play Alyx. It will also work on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. However, the game was designed from the ground up for Index and makes special use of the Index’s finger tracking. In the game, Alyx uses special Gravity Gloves, and the Index is especially suited for said gloves.

Of course, this leaves gamers with a decision to make. Do you pick up Alyx and play it with another VR headset, or do you wait until you can get your hands on an Index and play the game exactly as it was meant to be played?

There are already impressions out comparing the two experiences, so maybe the best course of action is to check out these impressions and decide what you want to do. Or you could just do what most gamers do, myself included, and play it however you can, as soon as you can. Patience is a virtue, but that doesn’t mean that waiting is fun.

Again, Half-Life: Alyx hits Steam on March 23, almost exactly a month from today. If you look at the Steam preorder page, you’ll see that a popular user tag is “masterpiece.” Wow, they must be psychic! Surely nobody would review a game before they had a chance to play it, right?