If you were still hoping to pick up a new Valve Index headset in time for Half-Life: Alyx (opens in new tab) to launch next month, the novel coronavirus has made things even harder than before.
Valve Index headsets were almost entirely sold out (opens in new tab) as of last month, but Valve said at the time that it was "targeting to be back in stock before Half-Life: Alyx ships". Unfortunately, its stocks will be much more limited due to the coronavirus' impact on production facilities around the world. That's, like, the thousandth item in a long list of the things that makes this viral outbreak awful, but it is still on the list.
"With Half-Life: Alyx coming March 23rd, we are working hard to meet demand for the Valve Index and want to reassure everyone that Index systems will be available for purchase prior to the game’s launch," Valve said in a statement to UploadVR (opens in new tab). "However, the global Coronavirus health crisis has impacted our production schedules so we will have far fewer units for sale during the coming months compared to the volumes we originally planned. Our entire team is working hard right now to maximize availability. To receive a notification as soon as the Valve Index is back in stock, please visit Steam and click 'Notify Me.'"
Valve Index is not the only way to play Alyx. The game will also support Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. However, Valve has made no qualms about positioning Index as the best way to play Alyx, especially with its expanded support for finger tracking and the way that will allow you to more naturally manipulate the environment. Most of the Valve Index bundles offered on Steam also include a complimentary copy of Alyx.
People who already own a Valve Index (they've been on sale since June 2019) are good to go, but it's disappointing that people may have an even tougher time playing the long-awaited next chapter in the Half-Life series the way they want to.
Check out our guide to the best VR games (opens in new tab) for more things you could play on the headset you already own.