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What are the Half-Life: Alyx system requirements, compatible headsets?

You’ll need a compatible virtual reality headset, of course, but what are the Half-Life: Alyx system requirements?

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Half-Life: Alyx system requirements compatible VR headsets
Valve / Thumbsticks

You’ll need a compatible virtual reality headset, of course, but what are the Half-Life: Alyx system requirements?

We’ve been waiting over a decade for Valve to give us more Half-Life. Ever since the cliffhanger at the end of Half-Life 2: Episode Two, one of gaming’s most compelling stories has been in limbo. It’s become a meme, a long-running internet joke that Valve would never make Half-Life 3.

But the world is not without its surprises. The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy XV released in 2016, which was remarkable. Then this year, both Kingdom Hearts III and Shenmue III were shown the light of day, for better or worse. We’re not sure how many fingers that monkey’s paw has, but Valve just made another impossible dream come true.

Sort of.

The new game announced by Valve – on its brand new Twitter account; welcome to the 21st century, Gabe – is not, in fact, Half-Life 3, but Half-Life: Alyx, a VR-only experience centred around fan-favourite character Alyx Vance, and set in the gap between the first and second Half-Life games.

People were a bit upset, truth be told. The adoption of VR headsets has not been rapid, and the number of people desperate for a new Half-Life game is probably far greater than those who own virtual reality-capable hardware and a pricey headset.

The logic, from Valve’s perspective, makes sense. Half-Life 2 was the killer app that persuaded people to install Steam, even though we were all annoyed about it at the time, and now look at how big the Steam storefront is. If virtual reality needs a killer app to increase adoption, then Half-Life: Alyx could be that game. Valve has also invested enormous sums of money into its own VR hardware, and a new Half-Life game is surely the most reliable way to increase uptake, and therefore, return on that investment.

But what hardware will you need to run the game? What are the Half-Life: Alyx system requirements?

Half-Life: Alyx system requirements

  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: Core i5-7500 / Ryzen 5 1600
  • Memory: 12 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GTX 1060 / RX 580 – 6GB VRAM

Half-Life: Alyx VR compatibility

Headsets

  • Valve Index
  • HTC Vive
  • Oculus Quest (running in PC link mode, so presumably the Rift will also work – TBC)
  • Windows Mixed Reality

Controllers

  • Tracked motion controllers

Play area

  • Seated
  • Standing
  • Room-scale

There are two interesting things to note.

First, the Half-Life: Alyx system requirements – for the PC driving the game – are higher than the minimum requirements for Steam VR. You’ll need a newer card (the base Steam VR requirements are an Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290, each with 4GB of VRAM) for starters, but your system will also need 12GB of RAM. Given that 8GB of RAM is the most popular configuration, then that’s likely to be a sticking point.

Second, while the choice of headsets is unsurprising, Valve is giving away Half-Life: Alyx – which is a full-price, $60 game – away for free to owners of its own Valve Index VR headset. If you needed any more convincing that Valve is specifically pitching Half-Life: Alyx as the catalyst for VR uptake, it’s that incentive.

Whether Half-Life: Alyx brings VR into the mainstream remains to be seen. The hardware is still expensive, while the convenience level – outside of the self-contained Oculus Quest – is still a major hindrance.

But if any game can do it, it’s surely Half-Life 3 Half-Life: Alyx.

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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.