Has the killer app finally arrived for VR adoption?

08 May 2020 - 07:14 By Scott Peter Smith
Half-Life: Alyx is an entirely new game in the Half Life franchise only playable via virtual reality.
Half-Life: Alyx is an entirely new game in the Half Life franchise only playable via virtual reality.
Image: Supplied

All it takes to make a bonfire is one little spark. Virtual reality enthusiasts are hoping that spark has arrived with the latest statistics from the April 2020 Steam Hardware Survey.

You see, the latest iteration of the Half Life franchise was released at the end of March earlier this year and it was built for that still small group of us with a VR headset. But, according to UploadVR, since the release of Half Life: Alyx the number of users with a VR headset has increased to 1.91%.

That may not sound like a big deal but when it was only 0.62% before that release date, we're looking at more than 50% growth. That's huge, and it took just over a month.

Steam is a video game digital distribution service by Valve, the publishers of Half Life which was originally released way back in 1998 and almost objectively considered one of the best video games ever made. It was an interesting risk to create such a compelling addition to the already popular franchise - and then make it available only to those with a VR headset. It looks like their gamble may just pay off, attract new interest in a so-far largely disappointing adoption of VR headsets, and then sell some of their own headsets in the process all the while spurring on developers to keep pushing into the space.

Valve has a vested interest in getting people to try, and buy, Vive headsets. While the game can be played on the Oculus Rift and other headsets, such a VR game made from such a well-known franchise could be the bump we are all looking for.

Valve recently announced that Steam has about 90 million users and that puts the number of VR users on Steam closer to the two million mark.

I'd say that counts as a spark.


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