There is a bit of a disconnect between the three major virtual reality headsets garnering most of our attention thus far. While the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift have already begun shipping over the course of the last three weeks, the Playstation VR is still approximately 6 months away from its debut. In fact, by the time that the Playstation VR begins shipping to pre-order customers, the Vive and Rift will have likely already sold close to one million units worldwide. While Sony may have played things smart by giving themselves time to perfect the device, knowing thats their more affordable headset should have little trouble selling right before the holidays, they have to be at least a bit anxious as the fanfare has already begun for Vive and Rift enthusiasts.
As a way to potentially keep gamers from dishing out four figures for a competing headset and compatible computer, Sony has a plan to keep the hype alive even in the midst of the summer season. That plan includes a launch partner in GameStop. Through GameStop, Sony will begin demoing Playstation VR within stores beginning in June and running through the month of December.
“Trial drives the conversion to purchase,” Koller said. “You have to be able to go into a GameStop to try this. We’ll have a fantastic technology, but you need to get your hands on it. We want to create a large footprint in high-visibility stores to have front-window demo experiences.”
While GameStop has set up HTC Vive demos across 10 store locations, they are seemingly taking the arrival of PS VR much more seriously. This could be due to the fact that the Playstation headset caters more to GameStop’s own customers, which are mainly console-based gamers, rather than those interested in the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, which require expensive computer hardware.
“We’ve played all the VR that’s come through our office, and the setup time for PlayStation VR is significantly easier and the space required to demo is small, so I expect we’ll have a lot of demos in stores, unlike the Oculus or HTC,” explained Paul Raines, CEO of GameStop.
In fact, interest has been so high among GameStop customers, that Sony should expect to see sales in the millions within six months of launch. GameStop has said that over 1 million of their PowerUp rewards members have expressed interest already in the $400 headset, going to show just how important a strong relationship between Sony and GameStop really is. Six months is certainly a long time for gamers to wait, but if the headset proves its worth come June when demos begin to roll out, that should be enough to convince the majority of current Playstation 4 console owners to hold off on other VR purchases.
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