Although Valve has actually been involved in the virtual reality market for a long time, it has mostly been via its collaboration with HTC’s VIVE system. Last year it finally got its hands dirty with the Index, which may be one of the more expensive PC VR systems aimed at regular consumers. Despite the initially slow sales, the Index quickly sold off last January thanks to the Half-Life: Alyx announcement. The good news is that it’s coming back next week. The bad news is that it probably won’t last long.
A few years ago, a $1,000 VR headset with controllers might not have sounded too outrageous. Then again, the first Oculus Rift and the first HTC VIVE actually launched for far less. Still, the Valve Index’s appeal was top of the line specs and tech, or at least that’s what the company is trying to sell.
For a few months, that message fell on deaf ears thanks to the price tag but suddenly the Index sold out in almost an instant. It might not take a genius to correlate this to the announcement of the VR-only Half-Life: Alyx title, despite how it can be played with other VR systems eventually. With the game’s March 23 launch just two weeks away, some Half-Life fans might be worried they won’t get their chance to buy a new Index in time.
Fortunately, Valve has just announced that the Index will be back in stock on Monday, March 9, at exactly 10 AM PDT, or 1 PM EDT or 5 PM UTC. At the same time, however, Valve is warning that “due to high demand”, they expect that those stocks would sell out on Monday, which is the same day. In other words, you better be ready if you want to get your hands on one quick.
After this initial restock, it isn’t known when new supplies will arrive. Valve has already warned that Index supplies are being affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Those may not make it by the time Alyx launches, which means many will probably wait to get to play it on other PC VR systems. By then, however, the Index would have accomplished what seemed impossible at first, selling a new and untested VR kit at twice the price of the popular ones.