The Valve Index virtual reality system for PCs is now backordered until after Christmas in the USA, according to its Steam store page.
This comes just over a week after the announcement of Half-Life: Alyx, Valve’s first”flagship” VR game. The store page simply lists “due to recent high demand”, but Alyx is the obvious culprit given this kind of backorder situation hasn’t happened since Index launched.
All purchases of the Valve Index before the end of the year will receive a free copy of the otherwise $60 game plus some extras like “environments from Half-Life: Alyx in your SteamVR Home space” and “Alternate gun skins to embellish Alyx’s arsenal.” Additionally, some of the game’s optional interactions will only be possible with the Index controllers.
The Valve Index is priced steep at $999 for the full bundle. That’s more than double the price of the Oculus Rift S. In fact, you could buy all three of Facebook’s headsets for that price.
But for that price, users get, arguably, the best overall VR experience available. The high refresh rate makes moving around feel real, the audio quality is sublime, the controllers allow for natural intuitive interaction, and the wider field of view immerses you more into the virtual world.
However, great hardware doesn’t sell without great content. In fact, the company’s own Hardware Survey indicates that the Index currently makes up less than 5% of VR headsets on Steam.
What it does tell us, however, is that demand has significantly increased, and that happened after Alyx shows that actual AAA games from a company (that is at its heart a game developer) is what it takes to really kickstart interest in VR hardware.
That’s a lesson Sony and Facebook already learned, and it is great to see Valve demonstrate its understanding of that principle too.