Despite a big push over the last few years, virtual reality remains a rather niche part of the video game industry. The technology is impressive, but it remains a bit too expensive for most gamers, and there hasn't been a "must-own" VR title, just yet. Of course, that could easily change with the release of Half-Life: Alyx. In just a few short weeks, the highly-anticipated title will arrive, and Valve expects big interest in the game. So much, in fact, that they are restocking their Index VR units on Monday, but they are warning fans that they do expect sell-outs.
The Valve Index VR unit is a prime example of the cost of VR equipment. The company offers three configuration kits. For $999, consumers get a headset, two controllers, and two base stations. For $749, they get the same thing, with no base stations. For $499, players get just the headset. Regardless of which kit is purchased, Half-Life: Alyx will be free for all Valve Index VR owners.
Fortunately, fans don't have to spend all that to play Alyx. The game is playable with any Steam-compatible VR set-up, and there are companies that do offer cheaper options. The game will also feature a number of different in-game VR set-ups and options, so that players can best tailor the experience to their needs.
It's been more than 12 years since the last Half-Life game released, so it will be interesting to see if Half-Life: Alyx provides the type of experience franchise fans have long been waiting for. The series is known for deep, entertaining experiences, but VR games tend to be on the shorter side and meant for quick gameplay sessions, particularly since some users find the experience can be a bit nausea-inducing. There's a lot of pressure on Valve to get the experience right; we'll know in just a few short weeks if they can manage to deliver.
The Valve Index VR kits will be available Monday March 9th at 1 p.m. EST.
Are you planning on picking up Half-Life: Alyx? What VR hardware are you planning on using? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!