Update: Right on schedule, the Index headsets are once again available to order. There will still be quite a wait to get one, however, as estimated ship times are currently listed as "more than 8 weeks"—not nearly in time for Alyx, in other words.
The Valve Index VR headset has been in short supply for months. Preorders sold out almost immediately, and shortages were exacerbated by the announcement of Half-Life: Alyx late last year. As of January 2020, the Index was sold out everywhere, and that was before manufacturing delays caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak took a toll. Still, Valve said that it'd be back in stock before Alyx launches on March 23.
The good news is that it appears that will be the case: Valve has begun sending out notifications that Index VR kits will once again be available for purchase at 10 am PT/1 pm ET on March 9. That bad news is that they probably won't be around for long, though that's to be expected.
"Due to high demand, we expect available stock to sell out on Monday," the message says. "All purchases beyond this initial quantity will be fulfilled in the order in which they are received, as supplies increase over the coming months."
Valve didn't say how many units will be available, but confirmed in an email that it expects all of the new stock to sell out on the same day it arrives. The Index page on Steam has also been changed: The "notify me" button that was present in January has been replaced with a non-interactive "coming soon."
New stock "over the coming months" implies that if you miss the boat this time, you won't have an Index for Alyx, which is now less than three weeks from release. Fortunately, that doesn't have the be the end of the road, as Half-Life: Alyx will also run on the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. If you're not sure which one is best for you, we've got a handy rundown of the best VR headset options currently available.
The Valve Index VR kit includes the Index headset, controllers, two base stations, and Half-Life: Alyx for $999. Note that they are not available for pre-purchase: If you want one, you better be ready to mash the "buy it now" button when the light goes green. And for those who already have one, Valve released two new SteamVR Home environments from Half-Life: Alyx that you can play with right now.
If you already own a Valve Index, we've released two new SteamVR Home environments from Half-Life: Alyx which you can explore starting today. If you don't own an Index, find a friend on Steam who does and join them in SteamVR Home to see it together. https://t.co/K2VooZNOSk pic.twitter.com/HfUwN7nW45March 4, 2020