Will Half-Life: Alyx Become Virtual Reality’s Killer App?

Have you joined the RyanSchultz.com Discord yet? You’re invited to be a part of the first ever cross-worlds discussion group, with over 300 people participating from every social VR platform and virtual world! More details here.

A killer app, if you are not familiar with the term, is a piece of software that you want so badly that you will purchase the hardware required to run it:

One of the first recognized examples of a killer application is generally agreed to be the VisiCalc spreadsheet for the Apple II series. Because it was not available on other computers for 12 months, people spent $100 for the software first, then $2,000 to $10,000 on the Apple computer they needed to run it.

And it would appear that at least some rabid gamers are willing to shell out for a VR headset, just to be able to play the latest installment in the Half-Life videogame franchise, as this tweet suggests:

Valve is releasing Half-Life: Alyx in March of 2020. The game will work on any VR headset that supports SteamVR (and Valve Index owners will get it for free):

Note that Oculus Quest owners will also be able to play the game if they have a powerful enough computer with a supported graphics card, the proper USB 3.0 cable, and the Oculus Link software.

Here’s the promotional trailer for the game, which has racked up over 7 million views on YouTube in less than two days:

So, what do you think? Will you buy the game? Will you actually buy a VR headset just to play the game? (It is a VR-only game; there will be no equivalent flat-screen desktop version available.) Please feel free to leave a comment below, or even better, join us on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server and tell us what you think there! We’d love to have you.

Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest VR Headsets to Ship May 21st

Well, the waiting is finally over. Pre-orders start today for both the Oculus Rift S headset (the replacement for the original Oculus Rift VR headset) and the standalone Oculus Quest, and they will begin shipping on May 21st, 2019. A lot of eager fanboys on the Oculus and Oculus Quest subReddits are no doubt bitterly disappointed that the Quest did not start shipping today, but three weeks is not too long to wait.

Of course, I placed my pre-order on the Oculus website for the Oculus Quest with 128GB of memory for CDN$699 this afternoon. Gotta have the latest gadget!

My Oculus Rift headset, which I originally bought in December 2016 and had replaced in January 2017 due to a defect in one of the lenses, is still serving me quite well and I see no need to upgrade to the Rift S at this time. After all, it’s not what I would consider a next-generation update, it’s more like a half-step upgrade. I can wait.

But Facebook’s announcements at their F8 developers conference were not the only news today! Valve officially announced the details of its upcoming high-end Index VR headset and hand controllers. At US$999 it’s certainly not cheap, but it does look like it would be a significant upgrade to the current crop of VR headsets. Pre-orders for the Valve Index start tomorrow, May 1st, 2019.

It looks like the battle for the high-end PC-based virtual reality headsets is just beginning! If I were Facebook/Oculus or HTC, I would be a little concerned about Valve’s entry into the marketplace.

Interesting times ahead!