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Still-Expensive VR Hardware is Bad News for Half-Life: Alyx

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:18 PM
Thomas Bardwell
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:18 PM
  • VR is back under the spotlight thanks to upcoming Half-Life: Alyx title.
  • The game may be the stand out title the tech needs to progress.
  • Yet, the cost of hardware remains an obstacle to mass adoption.

Yesterday, we speculated that while the industry remains divided on the prospects of VR, Valve is looking to make a splash by bringing a big name hit to the platform in the form of Half-Life: Alyx.

VR has long lacked a stand-out title capable of yanking the tech out of its cloistered confines and into the mainstream.

Alyx may be what’s required to do just. The pedigree of the Half-Life IP and broad initial interest from gamers are powerful forces.

Since the Alyx announcement, Valve’s own Index VR headset has reportedly sold out in the US and Canada , proof that players are jumping on the game well ahead of release next March.

VR Is Expensive

While examining the various Index bundles Valve currently has on Steam , it becomes all too clear that the biggest obstacles to both Alyx and VR ‘s success are the price of the hardware and the associated system requirements.

Prohibitive Hardware Costs Could Spell Downfall of VR and Half-Life: Alyx
Source: Valve

For example, Valve’s flagship Index VR Kit bundle , that includes a headset, controllers, two movement tracking base stations, and a copy of Half-Life: Alyx costs a staggering $1000. These aren’t optional pieces of hardware, but prerequisites to play the game. So, unless you’ve purchased one of them separately, that’s the basic price to play Half-Life: Alyx.

The price jumps down slightly $750 for the headset and controllers only kit . For the headset alone and the game , you still have to fork out $500.

Alyx System Requirements

On top of all this, you also need to factor in a gaming PC. Valve says you’ll need at least an Intel i5 Core 7500 or equivalent CPU, 12 GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 . While not the beefiest PC by any stretch of the imagination, that’s still, at best, a $600 to $700 build.

According to Steam’s ongoing Hardware survey, only 35% of Steam users have an equivalent or better GPU . A brand new build may not be necessary, but, a few costly choice upgrades are on the cards for most.

Half-Life: Alyx looks incredible. Yet, the sheer cost of the hardware may be too prohibitive for many. And this could dent Valve’s ambitions of raising VR’s merits in the eyes of the average gamer.