With the game just two weeks away, we continue to see questions crop up about which VR headsets are supported by Half-Life: Alyx. So here’s the complete list of VR headsets compatible with the game, and we’ll also explain what you need to play Half-Life: Alyx on Oculus Quest, minimum PC specifications for the game, and more.

VR Headsets Compatible with Half-Life: Alyx

Image courtesy Microsoft

Although Valve has its own headset on the market, the good news is that Half-Life: Alyx is compatible with nearly every headset that supports SteamVR, which includes the majority of tethered headsets. Here’s the complete breakdown of all VR headsets which can play Half-Life: Alyx.

HTC

  • Vive (original)
  • Vive Pro
  • Vive Pro Eye
  • Vive Cosmos Play
  • Vive Cosmos
  • Vive Cosmos Elite
  • Vive Cosmos XR
  • Vive Focus Plus (requires Viveport Streaming and VR Ready PC)

Oculus

  • Oculus Rift (original AKA CV1)
  • Oculus Rift S
  • Oculus Quest (requires Oculus Link compatible cable tethered to VR Ready PC)

Valve

  • Valve Index

Windows Mixed Reality

  • Acer WMR headset (AH101)
  • Acer OJO 500
  • Asus WMR headset (HC102)
  • Dell Visor (VRP100)
  • HP WMR headset (VR1000)
  • HP Reverb
  • HP Reverb Pro Edition
  • Lenovo Explorer (G0A20001WW)
  • Samsung Odyssey
  • Samsung Odyssey+

Pimax

  • Pimax 5K
  • Pimax 5K Plus
  • Pimax 5K Super
  • Pimax 5K XR
  • Pimax Vision 8K Plus
  • Pimax Vision 8K X
  • Pimax Artisan

No matter which of these headsets you’re using to play the game, Half-Life: Alyx must be bought, installed, and played through Steam.

Headsets Not Compatible with Half-Life: Alyx

Image courtesy PlayStation

Half-Life: Alyx is launching on PC only, which means headsets that don’t work with PC won’t be able to play the game. Here’s a list of major headsets which aren’t compatible with the game.

Oculus

  • Oculus Go
  • Gear VR (all versions)
  • Rift DK1
  • Rift DK2

HTC

  • Vive Focus (original)

Google / Daydream

  • Daydream View (all versions)
  • Lenovo Mirage Solo
  • Google Cardboard (all versions)

Sony

  • PlayStation VR

What You Need to Play Half-Life: Alyx With Oculus Quest

Image courtesy Oculus

Oculus Quest is a standalone headset out of the box which means it runs games directly on the headset itself. Luckily, the Oculus Link feature means you can turn Quest into a PC VR headset with the correct cable (and a VR Ready PC).

Unfortunately the cable included in the Oculus Quest box does not support Oculus Link because it is only USB 2.0. You’ll need a USB 3.0 cable of sufficient quality for Oculus Link. Most USB cables are a bit short to work with a VR headset, but they can be combined with an extender; we have had success with these options on Amazon:

You can also play Half-Life: Alyx wirelessly from a PC with third-party tools Virtual Desktop and ALVR, but this requires advanced setup.

Half-Life: Alyx Minimum Specifications

You’ll need to meet these specs to be able to play Half-Life: Alyx. If you exceed these requirements you’ll get a better experience with higher fidelity graphics.

  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-7500 / AMD Ryzen 5 1600
  • RAM: 12GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1060 / AMD RX 580 (6GB of VRAM minimum)

Other Frequently Asked Questions About Half-Life: Alyx

Image courtesy Valve

Will Half-Life: Alyx Play Best on Valve Index?

Though Valve says that Half-Life: Alyx was built “hand-in-hand” with Index, the company has made clear that they also designed the game with all other major SteamVR compatible headsets in mind.

The greatest difference will likely come down to Index’s controllers, which offer high fidelity finger tracking, and while Valve says this can enhance immersion, the company said it didn’t design any major gameplay elements around finger tracking specifically.

Image courtesy Valve

The company has also designed the game to work both with controllers with thumbsticks and those with trackpads (like the Vive wand controllers).

Can I Mix and Match Controllers?

If you have a headset and controllers which use SteamVR Tracking base stations (Index, Vive, Vive Pro, Vive Cosmos Elite, and Pimax), it’s generally easy to mix and match those headsets and controllers.

Headsets relying on other tracking tech (like Rift CV1, Rift S, Quest, and Cosmos) cannot mix and match controllers with one exception: Rift S and Quest controllers are interchangeable between those two headsets only.

Does Half-Life: Alyx Support Gamepads or Keyboard and Mouse?

No, Half-Life: Alyx can only be played with VR controllers.

Does Half-Life: Alyx Support Non-VR / Monitors?

No, Half-Life: Alyx is a VR-only game. Valve says the game was designed specifically for VR and wouldn’t be the same game if designed for non-VR.

What Accessibility Options Are in Half-Life: Alyx?

Half-Life: Alyx is confirmed to include a ‘Single Controller Mode’, subtitles in 10 languages, light-sensitivity mode, seated mode, and some other accessibility options. More details here.

How Much Room Do I Need for Half-Life: Alyx / Can I Play Seated?

Image courtesy Valve

Valve advises that the game can be played with a room-scale space, a standing space, or even seated; for the latter two, you’ll need enough room around you to swing your arms around freely without bumping into anything. All major VR headsets incorporate a ‘guardian’ or ‘chaperone’ system which allows you to define a virtual boundary that shows you how much safe space you have.

What Locomotion Options Are Supported in Half-Life: Alyx?

Image courtesy Valve

Half-Life: Alyx supports three locomotion modes: Teleport, Shift, and Continuous.

  • Teleport (AKA blink) allows you to point where you want to go and instantly appear there.
  • Shift (AKA dash), is similar to teleport except instead of instantly appearing in the new location, you quickly dash rather than
  • Continuous (AKA free locomotion) lets you use the thumb stick or trackpad to move your character continuously in any direction, similar to a non-VR game.

Options also allow for head-relative or controller-relative movement and snap turning.

These options mean players can use the locomotion method that’s most comfortable for them.

Can I see My Arms in Half-Life: Alyx?

Valve has not confirmed any option to show your arms in Half-Life: Alyx. Many VR games avoid showing the player’s arms because it’s difficult to accurately estimate their position, and misrepresenting them could impact immersion. Valve says that it’s easy to notice the invisible arms when you’re watching the game on a screen, but few players mind once they’re actually in the game in the headset.

Got more questions? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • Bob

    Just a heads up Ben: “Will Half-Life: Alyx Play Best on Vive Index?”

    :)

    • benz145

      Ha thanks, fixed : )

  • NooYawker

    Doesn’t work with Google cardboard???? Outrageous!!!

    • mirak

      You probably can with Riftcat or something.

  • William Calderini

    And “this” sentence/question is a little confusing as well:
    Does Half-Life: Alyx Support Gamepads or Keyboard and Mouse?

    No, Half-Life: Alyx can only be played without VR controllers.

    Not to nit-pick or anything. Good informative and timely article.

    • Xron

      With?

    • benz145

      Whoops, thanks for spotting. Fixed!

  • R3ST4RT

    Huh… Weird… It’s almost as if it doesn’t cost a $1000.00 to play half-life alyx. Yes, it will play best on index, but it will be far from unplayable on other headsets. Hopefully the people that keep bringing up this point will read this article… Even the BBC video failed on this.

  • Not necessarily all true: I’ve used the Razer Hydras with the Rift CV1 on SteamVR recently. They just act like vive controllers.

  • Baldrickk

    Will Half-Life: Alyx Play Best on Vive Index?
    I’ll be honest, I expected better… I guess it’s an easy mistake to make though.

    • benz145

      Ha thanks, fixed it!

  • mirak

    “Although Valve has its own headset on the market, the good news is that Half-Life: Alyx is compatible with nearly every headset that supports SteamVR,”

    How is that even a news ?
    Valve have always ensure the maximum to allow compatiblity with all headsets.

    • kuhpunkt

      Because people still need to be educated. Bunch of people still think that you need the Index and that Valve only made the game to push their own hardware.

      • aasdfa

        yupp and every other company in the industry is the exact opposite.

    • benz145

      “good news” in this case is more of an idiom, it just means “if you didn’t know this already, you’ll be happy to know…”

  • mirak

    it will work with riftcat

    • Immersive Computing

      What’s the latency like?

      • mirak

        I don’t know.

  • Bumpy

    Or just wait 6 months when they patch the game to run in 2D so everyone can play it plus more $$$$ to rake in.

    • Mel111111

      I seriously doubt that. If you’ve played any of these VR first person games, you’d know that they would never translate to pancake mode without a ton of work to make a ton of compromises.

      • asdf

        exactly. they made the gave with vr in mind thinking how can we utilize and push vr. if everything they added had to work in 2d as well then wed still just be stuck in a 2d eccentric game.

  • JesuSaveSouls

    Lenovo Mirage Solo does or did work with riftcat and steamvr.I at least have one headset that will work.

    • benz145

      There’s a few hacks and workarounds for various headsets, but we aimed to stick with officially supported solutions.

      • AltoRetrato

        A new article on all those hacks could be an interesting read. :)

  • impurekind

    Look how simple the Oculus and Valve lists of headsets are compared to everyone else. Some of those other companies REALLY need to streamline their product lines. Oculus has it pretty much spot on imo, with three main headsets that all serve very different audiences, are easy to differentiate, and are all specced and priced reasonably.

  • Technically, you could use the GearVR or the Cardboard with Riftcat VRidge and some of its plugins (like the one that lets you use mouse and keyboard in VR) to somewhat play Alyx. But probably you excluded it because the experience would be very mediocre

  • Sion12

    It doesnt work on Switch cardboard VR?!

  • AltoRetrato

    Even though the Oculus Go isn’t officially supported, it can be used to play Half-Life: Alyx (with a PC, of course!).

    I completed the game, with all achievements, in “Story” mode (the easiest level of difficulty), playing it with the Oculus Go. Of course, I would not recommend anyone to buy the Oculus Go just to play the game (better save to buy a cheap WMR headset or the Oculus Quest), but for those who already have the Oculus Go (or maybe even the Gear VR) and don’t mind playing with some clunky controls (to “fake” 6 DoF), the configuration steps and learning curve will let you to play this and more SteamVR games, bringing your Oculus Go experience to a complete new level.