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Select Gaming Stores Will Have HTC Vive Demo Units

Posted on April 9, 2016 at 7:59 am by David "Snackbar" Edmundson

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No matter how silly you might look playing it, Valve and HTC are serious about putting VR headsets in as many homes as possible. The pre-orders for the HTC Vive have been fairly strong and they’ve decided to increase the presence of the device by opening up kiosks at GameStop and Microsoft Stores across the nation, at select locations.

IGN is reporting that GameStop will have HTC Vive units and a catalog of the 120 games available across 10 of their stores throughout the United States. Microsoft will take things a step further by offering Vive demos at more than 30 different locations across the nation, including Microsoft stores located at New York, Bellevue Square in Washington, and the City Creek Center in Utah.

It’s surprising that Microsoft would be promoting a competitor’s device, but in the grand scheme of things the HTC Vive fits in line closer with Microsoft’s ecosystem thanks to its more open-ended structure as opposed to the Oculus Rift, which is locked down pretty tight from a software standpoint thanks to the restrictions and regulations put into place by Facebook. I suppose Microsoft is adopting the mantra “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

It also makes some sense that out of the VR headsets out there Microsoft would support the one that still supports the software ecosystem of the Windows OS and doesn’t completely negate the use of the Windows App Store the way the Oculus Rift does, which has its own curated software through the Oculus Store, where Facebook has to approve of everything that ends up on the store.

At the moment, the HTC Vive shipments are going out and are expected to arrive for customers within April. The first batch of units are all sold out through to June. If you go to demo any of the games at the Microsoft Store or GameStop locations, you’ll be able to place pre-orders for the next batch units set to arrive during this summer.

Who knows what the future holds for virtual reality. I think one of the amazing abilities of VR is to transport you somewhere you can’t physically get to. In the future we will all take virtual vacations to beaches, amusement parks and even be able to check for mobile casino without leaving the comfort of your house and for far less money.

For virtual reality aficionados curious about shipments of the Vive and other questions surrounding the availability of HTC’s headset, you can check out the official shipment updates page. You can check out participating GameStop and Microsoft locations throughout April to play-test the HTC Vive games at the kiosks.

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