Nick J. March 16, 2020
With Valve's new VR title Half-Life: Alyx releasing in a little under a week, fans are really starting to wonder what kind of "exclusive content" will come bundled with the Valve's first original release in close to a decade.
In February, WIN.gg ran down some possibilities concerning what Alyx's exclusive CSGO content could actually be. While all of those options are still on the table, an even bigger possibility just turned up on the Valve store.
What most don't realize is that there is a standalone Valve Store. It's not Steam, nor is it the Steam Marketplace. The Valve Store offers merchandise for all of Valve's popular products, including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive lanyards, beer mugs, Valve-branded mousepads, and even adorable little Dota 2 Chibis.
Few people seem to actually know about it. The store is pushing Half-Life: Alyx content quite hard, but it's exactly what they're pushing that catches the eye. In between the typical shirts, headcrab hats, and Counter-Strike patches is a batch of physical pins.
Half-Life: Alyx's exclusive content could be timed, digital CSGO pins
Ultimately, there's a good chance the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive community will see half-Life: Alyx-branded patches and profile pins available as a part of Alyx's exclusive offerings. The pins, at least, should also be available for the rank-and-file players who want to get their hands on some without purchasing the game.
The pins, much like those that fans can buy at CSGO events, don't specifically mention if they come with the code that could unlock a virtual profile version of them like CSGO's pins do. If you've ever seen a pin on a CSGO profile marked "Genuine," that means that the player likely attended a CSGO tournament or event and purchased one for themselves while there.
There are three pins currently on the Valve store, but all are listed as "Coming soon," and have little other information on their pages. First up is the Combine Helmet, a spitting image of the legion of grunts Gordan Freeman fought through in Half-Life 2 that will serve as Alyx's main antagonists her iteration of the beloved franchise,
The image is actually overlaid onto one of the reveal artworks that came with Valve's announcement of Half-Life: Alex, showing Combine soldiers running down a street with Alyx lounging inside a doorway.
The next pin is simply named "Combine Pin," but it resembles a keycard of some kind. Emblazoned with the emblem of the Combine, it's a futuristic nod to Half-Life's dystopian world.
The final pin in the series features the famous Half-Life logo with the Greek letter Lamda. It's normally used to help calculate the half-life of radioactive elements, but those in the know see it and immediately think of Gordon Freeman, a crowbar, and the Black Mesa Research Facility.
The three pins are available both separately and together, but Valve hasn't announced a date yet for their release. It's possible that these pins will ship alongside Alyx and become available at a later date, or they could also come in the newly-introduced patches for CSGO.
Whichever it is, it's refreshing to see Valve take what are now two of its most successful franchises and bring them together. Half-Life: Alyx will launch on March 23 and will be free to all those who ordered Valve's VR hardware before that date.