We’ve hammered out many words about why the HTC Vive is great, and honored it with our Editor’s Choice award. But we’d understand if you’re still not sure what this VR thing is all about. It’s an experience that’s unlike anything most people have ever tried, so it’s hard to grasp by simply reading of it. You really have to try it for yourself. HTC is aware of this, so it’s rolled out a demo program in select cities across the globe. Here’s where you can try the VR revolution before throwing down $ 800 to become a part of it.
HTC has three Vive demo partners — Gamestop, Microsoft, and Micro Center. While you can read more about each below, and see a full list of demo locations, we’ve summarized the locations on Google Maps, so you can find the location nearest you.
Select Gamestop stores started Vive demos in mid-April, and more have rolled out in the months since. Around 40 Gamestop locations now feature demos for the HTC Vive. The demos are held with the help of in-store staff every weekend, starting at 11 a.m. and ending at 7 p.m. Gamestop has partnered with CyberPowerPC to provide the hardware for the demo stations. Most of the stations are on either the west or east coast, but more than a few are available in midwestern and southern states.
After a small initial roll-out, Microsoft quickly expanded the Vive demo program. Today, more than 60 Microsoft stores across the country are showing the Vive on Alienware Area 51 gaming rigs. Microsoft says free demos last 10 minutes or so, and that customers must either be 18 years old, or 13 years old and have the permission of a parent or guardian.
Microsoft is the only demo partner with locations outside the United States, too. It has several in Canada, and one in Sydney, Australia.
Electronics retailer Micro Center has set up Vive demo stations at a handful of stores, and plans to roll out the demo program to almost a dozen in the coming months. The demos take place between noon and 9 p.m., between Thursday and Sunday.