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Data Suggests Most Steam Users' PCs Aren't Ready to Play Half-Life Alyx

By Nathan Grayson on at

Deep-pocketed companies like Valve and Oculus have been pushing virtual reality for years, but mainstream interest in the practice of strapping video games to one’s eyeballs has remained relatively low. Half-Life: Alyx seems primed to give a whole new audience a very valid reason to hover a hesitant finger over a headset’s Buy button and think “maaaaaybe,” but data shows that many Steam users are not prepared.

Annsly, a user on the Steam subreddit, compiled Valve’s publicly shared graphics card data and matched it up against results from Steam’s official VR performance test. In doing so, they found that out of users running the 50 most-used graphics cards on Steam – over half of Steam’s total user base – only 37 percent have VR-ready graphics cards.

The percentage of Steam users who already own VR hardware is far smaller, totalling out to just over one percent, with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive leading the pack at 0.38 percent and 0.34 percent, respectively.

It’s likely Valve’s hope that Half-Life: Alyx will drive adoption of both VR headsets and other hardware required to bring vast digital worlds to life via an obsidian brick that people attach to their faces.

It’s worth noting, too, that Valve is taking aim at the largest chunk of Steam’s user base it can. Half-Life: Alyx’s Steam page lists the most commonly-used graphics card on the Steam, the GeForce GTX 1060, as a minimum requirement. Granted, it’s tough to say what kind of performance players will be able to get out of that card, especially if they’re using a high-end headset like the Valve Index.