Ever since Half-Life: Alyx was revealed late last year, demand for the Valve Index virtual reality headset skyrocketed. It shot to the top of Steam's best-sellers list, and quickly sold out in every region where it was available. As of right now, it's not officially available to buy until Valve can manufacture more. A new Half-Life is quite literally a system-seller, even when it comes to a $1000 VR platform that also requires a capable PC.
With Half-Life: Alyx just one month away, Valve has acquiesced and admitted that it won't be able to meet demand in time for the game's launch. The most prominent reason? The coronavirus outbreak in Japan.
In a statement to UploadVR, Valve says that more Index systems will be stocked prior to Alyx's launch, but not nearly enough to satisfy demand. Valve explains: "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."
This is hardly the first tech production disruption at the hands of the coronavirus. Considering that China is a manufacturing giant, many products have seen significant shortages due to the epidemic. In video games, both the Switch and Oculus Rift are notable examples of hardware that's in short supply as of late. Add the Valve Index to the list.
Of course, it's not completely necessary to have a Valve Index to play Half-Life: Alyx; that's just the system it was optimized and built for. Alyx will run on all other PC-based VR platforms. Here's a starter's guide as to what will work (just ignore the prices because they were all framed around Black Friday). Or, if you have no problem not playing the new Half-Life day-and-date with its launch, you can wait for the Valve Index to be available again -- but who knows how long you'll be waiting.