Good news: a new Half-Life game is almost here! Bad news: You need a VR headset to play it. But back to good news: A lot of VR headsets are compatible. Bad news: Valve's own VR headset, the Index, which comes with Half-Life Alyx, has been hard to find in stock.
I haven't played Valve's Half-Life: Alyx yet (but stay tuned, I will) and some VR hardware options will undoubtably be better than others. Valve has said that the game will work across various Windows-based Steam VR-compatible headsets, so your options are wider than you think.
Here are some options to consider.
Valve's expensive VR setup has its own unique controllers that measure finger motion, and Half-Life: Alyx is designed to make the most of those controllers. If you have a Vive VR, you can get Valve's new controllers separately and add them on for less money than a whole new headset would cost. Valve is including Half-Life: Alyx for free with purchases of its Index bundles.
The Index has a great display and audio but requires installed Lighthouse light-emitting tracking sensor boxes in your room, instead of using in-headset self-contained motion tracking. The Index is a pain to set up because of its cables and lighthouse boxes, but it's excellent. However, it's hard to find in stock. Read CNET's Valve Index review.
Read more: The best VR headsets for 2020
The years-old Vive still works and is often on sale. It doesn't have the best display resolution anymore, but it'll do. You can get this and add on Valve Index controllers separately if you want. The Valve Index and its new controllers are cross-compatible with Vive's hardware, which also runs off SteamVR. If you want to upgrade to pieces of the Index later (I'd recommend the controllers, at least), you can.
The Vive comes in the original version and a higher-res Vive Pro model. Shop around and see what deals you can get. Read CNET's HTC Vive review.
Samsung Odyssey (or any Windows Mixed Reality headset)
Microsoft's line of third-party VR headsets are inexpensive and work with built-in headset tracking. Many of these Windows Mixed Reality headsets are affordable and work with Steam. The Odyssey, often on sale, has a high-quality display and build. It is the best of the now nearly forgotten headsets that Dell, HP and Acer put out a few years ago. I haven't tried it out yet with Half-Life: Alyx.
Oculus Rift S
Oculus' PC-connected VR headset doesn't require external cameras, doing all motion tracking through the cameras on the headset. The Rift S is a great headset, and it's SteamVR compatible. It's also really affordable. I'm not sure it's the best Half-Life: Alyx option, but it should work. The Rift S is sometimes hard to find in stock lately too.
See at Amazon Wild card option
The Oculus Quest is a standalone VR headset. Technically, it could work with Half-Life: Alyx when using the right USB-C cable to connect to a PC. It wouldn't be the best option but could be a fascinating choice for someone who already has a Quest.