Valve today confirmed that the Coronavirus outbreak has impacted production of the Index VR headset and other hardware. While the company tells us it still expects that new stock will be available ahead of the launch of Half-Life: Alyx on March 23rd, there will be “far fewer units” than the company had anticipated.
Valve is the second major VR company following Facebook to confirm that the Coronavirus outbreak has impacted the availability of its Index headset. While demand was already high with the looming launch of Half-Life: Alyx, the illness has constrained supply, the company told Road to VR in a statement today.
“With Half-Life: Alyx coming March 23rd, we are working hard to meet demand for the Valve Index and want to reassure everyone that Index systems will be available for purchase prior to the game’s launch,” a Valve spokesperson said. “However, the global coronavirus health crisis has impacted our production schedules so we will have far fewer units for sale during the coming months compared to the volumes we originally planned. Our entire team is working hard right now to maximize availability.”
The company reiterated that customers can visit the Index page on Steam to sign up for an email notification when the headset returns to stock.
Index has been out of stock globally for weeks now, but the company hasn’t said until now that the Coronavirus was expected to constrict supply.
The Coronavirus, a novel respiratory virus, began in China with the first reported case on December 31st, 2019; health organizations have since designated the strain as ‘COVID-19’ for specificity. The virus has seen more than 75,000 confirmed cases and 2,100 deaths, according to the latest information from the World Health Organization. While COVID-19 has spread to 27 other countries to date, 99% of cases have been confined to China which is a key manufacturing hub for VR headsets and related hardware.
Facebook and Sony today announced they won’t be attending the annual GDC conference in San Francisco next month over Coronavirus concerns. GDC has historically been a key event for Valve’s VR efforts as well; the company hasn’t yet said anything about its GDC attendance being impacted by the virus.