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PlayStation VR to see greater demo presence at GameStop

CEO Paul Raines says "I expect we'll have a lot of demos in stores, unlike the Oculus or HTC"

While discussion of VR is dominating industry conversations at the moment, for the average consumer right now VR is hardly a consideration. All the headset makers have a big job ahead of them in order to spread awareness, and as anyone who's tried VR knows, there's no better way to do that than to actually get people to test out VR games. That's easier said than done, especially for the high-end PC-based Rift and Vive, which is why retailer GameStop anticipates a bigger push in its stores with Sony's PSVR.

"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," said CEO Paul Raines during a GameStop investor day, according to Fortune.

"We're clearly going to be the key launch partner," added COO Tony Bartel. "We'll be selling Sony PlayStation VR hardware, bundles, and games in stores."

GameStop is thinking very carefully about the marketing of PSVR along with Sony. They both want to ensure that PSVR demo stations draw lots of public attention. "We want to create a large footprint in high-visibility stores to have front-window demo experiences," said John Koller, vice president of marketing at Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Koller added that the idea is ultimately to create consumer influencers and work with media influencers to build awareness, Fortune noted.

PSVR isn't going to be the only VR on display at GameStop stores, but it does sound like it'll get the lion's share of attention. HTC had previously announced with GameStop that its Vive headset would get demo stations in 10 locations by mid-April, with plans to expand later, but those plans don't seem to put forth a specific number of store demo locations.

Overall, Rob Lloyd, GameStop CFO, expects virtual reality hardware and software to generate $15 billion over the next few years and GameStop could grab about 20 percent of the market, or about $3 billion in sales, he said.

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James Brightman


James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.