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Half-Life: Alyx — Applying the VR Crowbar to Boredom

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It took a while for a game industry to recover and get back to dynamic life. Now Valve is one of the market’s leaders and motivators.

Half-Life: Alyx: Crowbar That Kills VR Boredom

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It took a while for a game industry to recover and get back to dynamic life. Now Valve is one of the market’s leaders and motivators.

It took a while for a game industry to recover and get back to dynamic life. Now Valve is one of the market’s leaders and motivators. Its Half-Life: Alyx is a brave attempt to resurrect the market.

By today, the masterpiece is the top-selling VR game. The idea of the game is laser-focused and straightforward. It is an easy music activity. The developer is a well-known Czech behind Seat Saber. You may know them if you’re into mobile apps. Facebook has recently purchased Beat Games, and the price of the deal remains in secret. The only thing known by now is that they plan to offer excellent Christmas gifts. Before these events, there were no virtual reality success stories to show up.

It was weird that Valve decided to continue Half-Life. Not everyone will be able to assess the new release, as it requires specific devices. Valve has become a large game developer with hundreds of staff a long time ago. The new Half-Life series is promised to be released in the shape of an action story with plenty of physics tools. It has all chances to become a legend in the gaming market.

 

A VR Blockbuster

Before this attempt, not so many developers tried to create games exclusive for VR. It seemed that Sony had all the chances. After all, the company has developed an all-inclusive virtual reality headset. You may find some of the successful blockbusters on PSVR (e.g., Blood and Truth). However, those are not the long-run solutions. Compared to PlayStation 4, with its 100 million units sold, the PSVR headset’s demand is rather low (just four million units).

Speaking about personal computers, things are even worse. Modern manufacturers have no interest in designing games and apps specifically for this type of device due to the range of problems that users may face. Blockbusters usually require more time for installation, running, and lag behind from time to time. The expert reports show that just two percent of the famous Assassin's Creed Odyssey retail sales come from those for personal computers.

Other statistics show that just 1% of Steam users possess virtual reality headsets. It means less than one million potential players. That is why Alyx will most probably appear as a fraction of a fraction. 

Another loud release is Cyberpunk 2077. The upcoming Alyx may speed up this and other similar releases because of the harsh competition. At the same time, it makes no sense to create complex games for the small audience made of Steam users that have VR headsets. As the industry remains undervalued, the VR followers should be very patient – who knows when the exclusive complex games for their devices will be developed. 

 

Obstacles to Getting Into VR

 

The worst thing in this situation is that many players would have to purchase VR headsets just to play a single game or two. That is not very rational as the virtual reality glasses, for instance, have never been a cheap investment. It might cost you $800-1,100, depending on the equipment. Some less expensive options are available for Half-Life fans who really want to play. For example, one may think about buying Oculus Quest for $450 (they are also suitable for personal computers), while the Rift S is offered at $400. The rest of the alternatives might be too outdated for the new VR games (e.g., HP VR1000), so keep it in mind.

Remember that you might need extra investments when witching to virtual reality. After all, not all computers and consoles are compatible with such powerful technologies. You may need some expensive upgrades to use VR on your preferred device. Therefore, purchasing virtual reality equipment alone is only half the battle. Say, you wish to install and play a new Half-Life. Then, notice that 12GB RAM is obligatory on your computer. You will also need a minimum of one GTX1060 video card. Think about pumping up the PC as well. After all, it took a while to create Alyx, so you might have to break your head against the wall to launch it on your device.

Virtual reality still does not disappoint Valve. They do not regret investing so much time and effort into this technology. It was a chance for the whole company to open new doors and move up the industry ladder. The work on Alyx started in 2016, while the idea came much earlier. Studio Campo Santo has become a close partner. So far, the latest good, which continues Half-Life’s story, is the most large-scale project of Valve so far.

 

Valve's Interest and Benefit

While other industry players have to create really wow games to stay on the wave, it does not take Valve to create something extraordinary. Playing a VR game is something breathtaking already, and many users forget about the necessity of twisted plot or a variety of weapons and locations. It gives Valve a solid competitive advantage. You will not find super successful games on Steam, but they are all exciting for sure, thanks to the innovative solutions. The company makes around 30% of game sales on Steam without investing plenty of resources. Besides, those who buy Alyx and enjoy it will keep on purchasing similar virtual reality games with a high chance. In addition, Valve can benefit from the profits possible thanks to the Index glasses. 

Even if Half-Life’s new part does not become the top-seller, the company will still make a good profit and name. This shooter remains on the top-selling list on Steam. 

At the same time, many rivals and field experts believe that it does not make much sense to waste so much time and effort on things that users do not frequently buy. It seems that Valve itself lives in some kind of VR. The problem is that big market players like PS and Xbox do not want to spend their time on things that have no perspectives on them. They do not trust in the success of VR games today. They analyzed the market and consumers and decided not to cooperate with Valve at the moment. Also, Google has stopped their VR headsets.

 

Can Virtual Reality Make a Breakthrough One Day?

Unlike in the movies about the future, VR technologies are currently in low demand. As Valve appears to be the most successful company that actively applies virtual reality tech, it is up to this market player to change the situation for better. Of course, a lot depends on the consumers too. 

As the potential success of Alyx is obvious, probably, the results could be better. The trailer has caught the eye of many players worldwide, motivating them to purchase VR glasses and complete headsets. Various elements of design and interface are based on the virtual reality in this game. The first previews look rather promising.

Who knows, perhaps, shooters will shape the gaming world. Half-Life was an innovator in many fields, even before. The special source engine was created for this release. The idea is that other companies with at least a little interest in VR could use the same engine for further VR production.

By the way, this version of Half-Life could be only the beginning. As Valve reports, they plan to release a couple of more similar projects in the closest future. The company is actively using the crowbar to stress the benefits of VR technology. These developers are ambitious and enthusiastic about the future, re-thinking such legendary games as Left 4 Dead and Counter-Strike via the prism of virtual reality.

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