For some time North American retailer Best Buy has maintained a vested interest in new virtual reality (VR) related hardware. In the last year alone we’ve reported on their selling of Gear VR from pre-order to sell-out. Their stocking of the 360fly camera as an exclusive partner, as well as the Leap Motion controller and Merge VR head-mounted display (HMD). They’ve also been very much a part of the conversation for both the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR with the company’s actions suggesting the release dates for both HMDs. In fact just over a year ago their Canadian branch hosted an expo for wearables which specifically included VR.
Now, with the PlayStaion VR (the last of VR’s ‘big four’) will be coming out. VR is closing in on a year as a retail reality, having really started with the Gear VR. It’s in the ascendancy and Best Buy are planning for a Christmas that reflects that. As such the business has announced today that it will have, by the time of the Christmas period, demonstration units in place for the Oculus Rift in 500 stores and up to 200 demo units for the PlayStation VR that will move around store locations.
Speaking to Bloomburg analyst Brad Thomas believes this will be something of a litmus test on how VR in retail will fare generally. “The performance of virtual reality at Best Buy will be a very good indicator of how successful the VR movement will be, we’re hopeful that virtual reality turns into a new traffic driver for Best Buy.”
Joly though is more excited about VR’s second coming. “It’s going to be really cool and fun for our customers, virtual reality has the potential to contribute to our growth.”
Whichever road VR takes at retail, with both Europe and Australia also about to receive publicity tours, the American public are also going to have a great opportunity to try out VR themselves. VRFocus will be reporting on more developments within the retail space in the coming weeks.
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