Fans want Half-Life: Alyx on PSVR 2 — will Valve and Sony find a way to make it happen?
A rumor this week claims Sony bought the rights to release it in 2023, but not when the headphones launched. However, UploadVR has yet to hear anything substantial from our own sources or news outlets with well-known experience for accurate reporting. Given the difficult nature of game development and the complexity of behind-the-scenes dealings inherent in the industry, anything short of direct or multi-source confirmation should be met with a high degree of skepticism.
If Valve and Sony pull it off, however, the move would bring one of VR’s finest titles to a whole new set of VR gamers who have purchased a PS5 and PSVR 2 headset rather than a PC and PC VR headset. While Quest players with a gaming PC have been able to enjoy Half-Life: Alyx since its early 2020 release via Steam, the PlayStation Store also carries Valve’s only full-fledged title built from the ground up for VR. would be a major win for gamers buying into Sony’s ecosystem.
Priorities and partnerships
The PlayStation VR2 will launch in early 2023 and Sony has only just begun to unveil the lineup of upcoming games they are bringing to the system. We recently got acquainted with the PSVR 2 and were impressed with how much it improved over the first-gen device from 2016. Featuring new controllers with resistive triggers and a familiar button layout plus eye tracking and even vibrations inside the headset itself, Half-Life: Alyx would seem a perfect match for Sony’s system.
For example, Half-Life: Alyx features gravity gloves that allow you to bring objects far away from you closer as well as menacing crabs that lurk in many corners. Both features fire the imagination as to how they might be implemented on Sony’s hardware. Eye tracking, for example, could help with gravity gloves by making targeting of these objects more precise. Theoretically, players would shoot the wrong item towards them less often. And the headset’s haptic feedback can let you feel a headcrab latch onto your skull. Still, there are a few hurdles to overcome to achieve the dream.
Valve is a remarkably small company that is incredibly profitable per employee. Management uses a flat structure in which employees move between teams whenever they want. However, garnering support for the projects you want to work on can also be a Herculean effort with difficulties of scaling and prioritization versus the need to run Valve in a timely manner. In recent months, Valve has focused on expanding its support for the Steam Deck handheld, even as the Valve Index VR headset continues to be one of Steam’s best-selling products.
Valve executive Gabe Newell described Valve’s Steam Deck PC handheld as “a stepping stone” to standalone VR, while the company’s Greg Coomer said its processor would perform well in VR and ” It’s very relevant to us and our future plans.” The company just caught up on Steam Deck pre-orders and will bring its interface to VR, but there remains a valid question of priorities and bandwidth if there’s any wiggle room to port a Half-Life game: l scale of Alyx on Sony’s platform. That said, Valve has plenty of partners to consider to help it achieve its competing priorities and Half-Life: Alyx likely tops a short list of titles that could convince gamers to get a PS5 and PSVR 2. The big question is still how Sony’s console port would fit into Valve’s longstanding efforts to expand the market for PC gamers.
Half-Life: Alyx on Steam is also a portal to Steam Workshop and its community development tools. Community modders have used the tools to add important new modes to the game, as well as hours of new and well-crafted campaigns. The tools are a fundamental part of Valve’s offering to PC gamers – the community has even created VR mods for the original Half-Life and Half-Life 2 games for release on Steam. While mods aren’t necessary for Half-Life: Alyx, they greatly expand the appeal of PC gaming and are likely at odds with Sony’s PS5 being a console with the only content available that was rigorously tested before release. exit. Still, Valve has already released its games without Steam Workshop support on competing platforms, with Portal games having recently arrived on Switch and The Orange Box being one of the best value-per-game packages ever released.
Does it make sense to drop Steam Workshop support for a console version of Half-Life: Alyx at the same time that Valve might extend that reach to handhelds? Probably – the efforts are probably not mutually exclusive – but there is still a bigger platform war going on in the background of all this for the future of personal computing. Half-Life: Alyx is the tip of the spear when it comes to pushing some of the company’s key tools into the future and there may be benefits to focusing the expansion of these tools on platforms where Valve controls the experience at every level.
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