HTC Vive Demos a Reality at GameStop and Microsoft Stores

April 7, 2016, 12:00 PM UTC
Owlchemy Labs

On the heels of its April 5 launch, HTC has added hands-on retail demonstrations of its Vive virtual reality platform at select GameStop and Microsoft Store locations across North America. This is the beginning of a program to allow more consumers the opportunity to experience virtual reality before deciding to purchase the $800 platform.

Dan O’Brien, a vice president at HTC (HTC), says these retailers were chosen because they align with the company’s core audience and are destination stores for these individuals. There are no announced plans to expand to additional retailers at this time, he said.

HTC has partnered with Dell to power these in-store demonstrations with Alienware 51 PCs. There will be one demo system per store.

“We created a 10-minute demo loop with four experiences that include theBlu, Space Pirate Trainer, Job Simulator, and Tilt Brush,” O’Brien says. “We wanted to give people a variety of experiences, but also needed to plan for lots of people wanting to try the demo. The 10 minutes allows for about three different demos at about three minutes each.”

There are currently over 120 VR experiences available for the Vive, far exceeding the 50 launch titles Valve had originally promised—and far more than the 30 launch titles for Facebook’s $600 Oculus Rift.

While these retailers will have Vive in stores to try, consumers won’t be able to take the device home. Vive is currently on back-order until June, so these stores are taking orders only. O’Brien says HTC is on schedule and the Vive is shipping as planned.

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The Microsoft flagship store in New York, Microsoft at Bellevue Square in Washington state, Microsoft at City Creek Center in Utah, and Microsoft at Park Meadows Mall in Colorado are the first retailers to offer Vive demos. Additional Microsoft stores are slated to roll out in April with up to 30 stores outfitted this year.

GameStop (GME) will offer Vive demonstrations at about 10 locations by mid-April with plans to expand throughout the year.

“We believe that when people try VR they will be convinced that this is the next digital medium,” O’Brien says. “We’ve done a lot in the past year to introduce individuals to VR and Vive in particular—from our truck tour to participating in local events—but working with these partners provides a broader group of consumers the opportunity to try VR in their own community and at their convenience.”

For more on the HTC Vive, watch:

O’Brien previously told Fortune that game developers are helping Valve and HTC evangelize Vive. The system has also been receiving overwhelmingly positive press reviews, which hasn’t been the case with Oculus Rift. And Valve and HTC believe the early purchasers of Vive will also help promote the product.

Digi-Capital managing director Tim Merel believes virtual reality and augmented reality hardware could have an installed base in the low single-digit hundreds of millions by 2020, ranging from low-end VR Cardboard up to premium HTC Vive.

“Hardware sales could drive over $4 of every $10 spent on AR/VR by 2020,” Merel says. “Hardware sales could be the one business model to rule them all in AR/VR.”

Merel forecasts the virtual reality industry will generate $30 billion by 2020 and the augmented reality industry will generate $90 billion by that time.

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