Half-Life: Alyx was announced last week and got a lot of people talking about VR gaming. Will VR hit mainstream success because Valve sold out of VR hardware? Not necessarily.
The reveal of Half-Life: Alyx was also a promotion for the Valve Index in a small way. Not only did it launch in many regions for the first time, but Alyx was designed with Index in mind. Although it will also work on Oculus, Vive and Windows MR. The main selling feature is the Index’s unique controllers that can track individual finger movements. Gamers are excited to see the possibilities these can unlock for translating the Half-Life universe to VR.
Less than a week after Alyx was revealed the Index headset and controllers are sold out in Canada and America. It does seem like orders exceeded Valve’s predictions, especially since they went through similar shortages when Index launched in June. But VR still has a ways to go before it gains the foothold it probably needs.
Currently PlayStation VR is the best selling VR headset with about 4.7 units worldwide. PC based VR still needs to sell over 1.5 million headsets to even match that number. Barriers to entering VR include the high price for a good gaming PC and the complexity of the systems themselves. When new setups come out often a lot of sales will be to existing VR users upgrading their old headsets.
The most established VR audience is on PSVR. And the VR platform that’s easiest for consumers to pick up is PSVR. Half-Life: Alyx might be the “killer app” for VR that everyone has been waiting for. But to ensure enough eyes see it Valve should really develop a version for PSVR, if they aren’t already. The more chances for this game to get out there the better it will be for VR going forward.
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