Valve has given us one of the most popular franchises in gaming history, Half-Life, dating back to 1998. After a series of episodes and a few expansion packs, a long silence followed. Nothing happened following Half-Life Episode 2, released in 2007. A third episode would probably have concluded the series. However, for some inexplicable reason, Valve abandoned the story, leaving millions frustrated. Valve did redeem themselves somewhat in the yes of Half-Life fans by releasing Half-Life: Alyx, a VR title that follows events between Half-life (1998) and Half-Life 2 (2004).
After years of promises of sophisticated VR ventures, the gaming industry had failed to impress. Many titles released but none managed to truly take VR mainstream. Naturally, Half-Life: Alyx was thought to be a risky venture by Valve.
Soon after the release, though, it quickly became apparent that Valve knew what they were doing. The game received rave reviews and the fans loved it. So much so that it now stands as one of the highest-rated games ever.
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Half-Life: Alyx- the Savior of VR?
The success of Half-Life: Alyx was a massive step towards giving VR some legitimacy; after years of promise, VR had failed to truly take off. The apprehension with VR had grown since the initial hype; many titles had failed already. Furthermore, the equipment required for VR games was simply too expensive to appeal to the majority of the gaming community. Despite all this, there was an underlying hope that something in the future would act as a catalyst in overturning VR’s fortunes. Half-Life: Alyx proved to be exactly that from the look at the numbers.
The latest Steam Survey reports there was an increase of nearly one million monthly-connected VR headsets. That is the single-largest increase ever. The game released in March 2019, which was followed by a jump of 950,000 monthly VR headsets connected over the month prior. That is an impressive hike indeed. It goes to show you that a solitary title if done right, can result in a huge change in the landscape of new technology.
Check out the survey numbers right here.
You can expect other developers to take heart from this and give VR another go. they will need to take inspiration from Valve and make sure they deliver something amazing, though.