Valve announced that the Index VR headset will be back in stock for a limited time this Monday, March 9. The Steam creator revealed the return of the anticipated headset on Twitter after weeks of it being out of stock due to Coronavirus related issues.
— Valve (@valvesoftware) March 4, 2020
In the tweet announcing its return, Valve stated that the VR headset will be available at 10 a.m. PT on Monday. Players can only purchase the Index is through its official Steam store page, and Valve said the headset will likely sell out again “quickly.” The complete kit will run for $999 and includes the Index headset, two proprietary controllers, two base stations for creating the virtual space in your home, and a copy of Half-Life: Alyx.
Orders will still be available even after the initial stock sells out, but those pre-orders won’t be fulfilled until “supplies increase over the coming months.”
The coronavirus, officially named Covid-19, led to production and stock issues for the Index, which is unfortunate given the upcoming release of Alyx, the first Half-Life title in more than 12 years. The VR exclusive means players will need a headset, like the Index, to experience the Half-Life 2 prequel story as the titular character Alyx.
However, Alyx is playable on other VR headsets, including the HTC Rift and the Oculus Quest. Those won’t come with a free copy of the game like Index does, and Oculus is seeing its own share of production delays. Both the wireless (but not Alyx-capable) Quest and the Rift are in short supply. The Vive is a bit easier to find, but HTC’s model is far less popular than Facebook-owned Oculus’ offerings, and it’s pricier as well.
To hold players over until its launch on March 23, Valve released two SteamVR Home environments based on Half-Life: Alyx. One is an alleyway in the middle of City 17 underneath the under-construction Citadel from Half-Life 2, and the other is in Russell’s laboratory.
The affected Index production is far from the only impact coronavirus dealt to the gaming industry. Concerns over the crisis resulted in Nintendo Switch hardware delays, Sony dropping out of PAX East, and GDC 2020’s postponement.
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