We are only two months or so away from the release of Half Life: Alyx. Valve officially announced the VR title on 21st November 2019, describing it as "a new full-length entry in the Half-Life series, built by Valve for VR". In the wake of that announcement demand for Valve Index VR headsets surged - as it will likely offer the best in-game experience in the highly anticipated title.
Valve's Index VR headset was revealed and became pre-orderable in May last year. On launch day Valve teased a first party "flagship VR game," sparking some speculation about new Half Life and Left 4 Dead games, of course. Despite its high end specs, and 'Fidelity first' ethos - beating out competitors in areas like display quality, FOV, and precise hand/finger motion controllers - the pricing of a full kit (over £919/$999) made many pause for reflection, without any killer app to inspire confidence.
RoadToVR has been watching the stocks of the Valve Index kits closely since the announcement of Half Life: Alyx. In brief, Valve's strategy of rekindling one of its cult franchises to propel sales of the VR hardware appears to have been more successful than it had expected.
Just a week after the announcement of Alyx, RoadToVR noted that US and Canada most Index kits were marked as sold out with a ‘Back in Stock Soon’ message in place of the order button. The UK's supplied were significantly impacted a day later with 4-8 day delivery times on all Index kits, and Italy was very close to being in the same position. Demand continued throughout December and more and more regions sold out while waiting times seemed to be moved further down the line.
As of 14th January, the stock levels of all Valve Index kits worldwide look exceedingly bleak - with only Japan having a few hardware morsels left to offer (but no base stations). Valve seems to have revamped its ordering pages with granular Index kit notification levels to prevent customer disillusionment. On the sales page it asserts that "We're busy catching up with demand". With this in mind RoadToVR reached out to Valve and got the following statement in return: "We are working hard to build more units and meet the high demand. We are targeting to be back in stock before Half-Life: Alyx ships."
If you are hoping to be playing Half-Life: Alyx as soon as it becomes available please note that Valve has confirmed the game will be compatible with all PC SteamVR headsets.