Gabe Newell gave some insight into the reason behind the Valve Index headset’s supply shortage, stating that the company is ‘manufacturing constrained,” according to an interview with 1 News in New Zealand.
The Valve Index released in June 2019 and has remained a difficult headset to find in stock pretty much ever since. Not only is the headset only available in select countries, but it’s frequently gone out of stock and when it comes back it sells out almost immediately.
Even with the release of Valve’s flagship VR game in March last year, Half-Life: Alyx, Valve struggled to keep up with demand for the headset. While speaking to 1 News, Newell provided some clarity as to why.
“We actually have components that are manufactured in Wuhan and when you’re setting up your manufacturing lines it doesn’t occur to you that you’re suddenly going to be dependent on this peculiar transistor that’s sitting on one board that you can’t get,” Newell said.
“Everybody ended up running into the same problem simultaneously — you go from, ‘Oh, we’re in great shape,’ to, ‘What do you mean Apple or Microsoft just bought the next two years’ supply of this just so they could make sure they aren’t going to run out?’ You went from a situation where everything was getting done just in time to people buying up all the available supplies.”
Newell says these constraints are also why the headset still doesn’t ship to some markets like New Zealand or Australia. “The only thing keeping us from shipping in New Zealand at this point is just getting enough of them made — we’re very much manufacturing constrained.”
In the same interview, Newell also said that making and release of Alyx has ‘created momentum’ for more single-player Valve games in the future.