The best way to play Half-Life: Alyx is sold out almost everywhere in the world, but at least Valve hopes to replenish stocks before the game arrives in March. The Valve Index headset sells for $499 by itself or $1,000 in a complete bundle with all the sensors and controllers you need. Almost every way to buy Index hardware also comes with a copy of Alyx, to be fair.
Half-Life: Alyx is a VR-exclusive game, but it's not exclusive to Index. It can run on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or even Windows Mixed Reality headsets. However, Valve has emphasized how Alyx will take advantage of Index's unique capabilities ever since it revealed the game. The most prominent example is the detailed finger-tracking of the Valve Index controllers, which translate directly over to the finger inputs of Alyx's new Gravity Gloves. Valve says Alyx was built "hand-in-hand" (get it) with Index, so naturally you'll get the best experience there.
Road to VR checked all 31 regions where Valve Index is being distributed and found it sold out in every region but one: Japanese VR fans still have a chance to pick up the Index headset by itself or the headset bundled together with the Index controllers. Try to buy an Index anywhere else and you'll only be able to sign up for email notifications for when they come back in stock.
“We are working hard to build more units and meet the high demand,” a Valve spokesperson told Road to VR. “We are targeting to be back in stock before Half-Life: Alyx ships.”
Valve has made hardware products of its own before, including the Steam Link and Steam Controller, but they've never been in demand like Index is right now. Probably because they've never been the recommended way to play the first new Half-Life in more than a decade. Hopefully Valve is able to scale up production enough to get an Index headset to everybody who wants one in time for Half-Life: Alyx.
Check out our guide to the best VR games if you already have your headset of choice all set up.