PC download charts: 'Half-Life: Alyx' propelled to second place by VR players

"Half-Life: Alyx" is now the best-rated game in Valve's foundational video game franchise, according to player reviews on Valve's digital storefront Steam, which dominates the PC gaming sector.

Following the virtual reality game's release on March 23, some 98% of 15,625 user reviews for "Half-Life: Alyx" have been positive (as of March 30, 2020).

Though early adopter excitement and sunk cost bias may factor into players' enthusiasm -- a VR-compatible computer can cost upwards of $700 USD from scratch, with headset systems priced $179 to $999 -- "Half-Life: Alyx" has been received as a triumphant continuation of an influential franchise and high point for VR to date.

A 98% recommendation rating ranks better than each preceding entry to the "Half-Life" franchise, dormant since 2007's "Half-Life 2: Episode Two."

"Half-Life 2" currently stands at a 97% Steam user review rating, "Half-Life" at 96%, with "Half-Life 2: Episode Two" at 95% and "Half-Life: Episode One" at 94%.

"Black Mesa," a fan remake, comprehensive overhaul and expansion of the original "Half-Life," which reached version 1.0 in early March after a combined 15 years of development, has attained a 95% rating.

As "Half-Life: Alyx" was released for free to owners of Valve Index headsets or controllers, its presence in Steam's revenue-based sales charts is due to purchases by owners of other VR systems.

At the time of Steam's February 2020 Hardware Survey, 7.66% of users with VR systems had an Index; Facebook's Oculus Rift and Oculus Rift S made up a combined 53.68% of VR ownership, 26.25% had the HTC Vive (Valve's first VR headset collaboration), and 8.47% a Windows Mixed Reality setup.

Steam chart for the week ending March 29* (steampowered.com)
1. Doom Eternal
2. Half-Life: Alyx
3. Grand Theft Auto V
4. Valve Index VR Kit
5. The Witcher 3 - Wild Hunt: Game of the Year Edition
6. Last Oasis
7. Monster Hunter: World - Iceborne
8. Doom Eternal (denotes a different edition)
9. Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition
10. Resident Evil 3 (pre-order)
*Steam chart based on revenue rather than units.