A new wave of consumers got to try the HTC Vive for the first time this weekend at select GameStop stores across North America.
With the HTC Vive having just launched at the beginning of April, the new in-store retail demos are a much needed opportunity for consumers to experience the Vive. And if you’re GameStop, hopefully sell some pre-orders for a June delivery in the process.
We popped over to a local GameStop in Los Angeles, which happens to be one of the 10 retail stores that is demoing the Vive.
The first thing you’ll notice is a roughly 15 by 15 foot section of retail floor space in the GameStop store roped off to take customers through a series of VR demos one at a time. A briefed GameStop employee explains the system to the user and starts them off in an intro waiting room, having them inflate balloons and get used to the controllers. From there, the user gets cycled through roughly 3-minute long demos of Wevr’s The Blu, Google’s Tilt Brush, and Space Pirate Trainer.
The selection of demos seem like a reasonable mix and progression. You introduce the user to The Blu that is more of a standing experiential demo, then get their hands moving and clicking with Tilt Brush, with a final experience of Space Pirate Trainer blasting drones out of space.
This particular GameStop location saw 47 customers go through Vive demos the first day, with lines wrapping in the store, some waiting over an hour to get their 10-minute demo of the future.
GameStop is providing some incentives for customers to pre-order the Vive with 20% extra credit toward your pre-order when you trade in select games, as well as a layaway program.
Customers waiting in line were as diverse and you would expect, from an elderly grandma who demoed the Vive as a seated experience to a young child who seemed to immediately grasp controller navigation. One customer mentioned that he had already pre-ordered the Vive but had yet to actually try it (he heard about the in-store demo on /r/Vive). Most customers were first-time users, with some who had either heard about the demo through GameStop marketing materials or just happened to be walking by the store.
The in-store demos will only be available for about a week, from 4/16 to 4/23 at select stores. So if you haven’t got your Vive on yet and you’re close by, drop on in.
GameStop Locations – 4/16-4/23
– Plano, Preston Road Plano
– New York, Broadway at 85th
– Latham, Latham Farms
– Bellevue, Bellevue Square
– Hillsboro, Tanasbourne Town Center
– Chicago, Brickyard Shopping Center
– Orlando, Hunters Creek
– Brandon, Lake Brandon Shoppes
– West Hollywood, West Hollywood Gateway
– Gulfport, Gulfport Plaza