Valve has announced that it is celebrating the impending release of Half-Life: Alyx by making the whole of the preceding franchise free to download and play - until the new VR-only game is released. The freebie is another canny PR move by Valve, which is aiming to make waves in the VR gaming arena, which seems to have plateaued after the initial rush of excitement during 2016/2017.
If you are already a Steam user, and don't own the following games you can click through to add them to your library (for now) and start playing:
In its blog post about the time-limited freebie, Valve explains the rationale in providing free access to the franchise ahead of the release of Alyx:
"Half-Life: Alyx is set before the events of Half-Life 2 and the episodes, but the games share characters and story elements. The Half-Life: Alyx team believes that the best way to enjoy the new game is to play through the old ones, especially Half-Life 2 and the episodes, so we want to make that as easy as possible."
So, those who haven't played through the above currently free Half-Life games have at least six weeks to have some fun with the series. The games are commonly on sale, if you don't complete them before sometime in March when Alyx releases and you wish to put more time into them. For example, just before Christmas, Half-Life and Half-Life 2 were in the sale at £0.71 each, though they are currently listed at £7.19 each…
Is Half-Life: Alyx the killer app for VR which will make everyone yearn to buy into the ecosystem? Valve seems to thinks so, and it looks like it has had some considerable success selling its pricey Index HMDs off this dream. However, Valve has left a string false dawns and short lived products in its wake as it has pursued the next big thing in PC gaming over recent years.