No matter how many reviews you read or how many videos you watch, you can’t really understand what the new round of virtual reality hardware is like until you try it. For those who don’t have an early VR-savvy friend around, HTC is rolling out dozens of retail demo stations where you can put the SteamVR-powered Vive through its paces. And if the demo convinces you to shell out at least $800 on a slice of the future, those retail locations will also be taking pre-orders for delivery starting in June, according to HTC.
Currently, the Vive demos are only available in three Microsoft Stores: in New York City, Bellevue, and Salt Lake City. Microsoft plans to expand the program to 11 additional stores in the US (and one in Sydney, Australia) by the end of the month and to 30 locations by the end of the year. (According to Microsoft’s website, users must be 18 years old to participate in the demos.) Meanwhile, GameStop will begin demoing the Vive in 10 US locations from April 18.
That’s a lot of Vive demo stations to keep track of, so we’ve put together a quick Google Map (below) showing how far you’ll need to travel to sample the headset for free (color-coded by retailer and demo launch dates, click through for more details). Customers in central Florida, the New York area, southern California and the Pacific Northwest are spoiled for choice, while the harvest is currently much smaller in the sprawling center of the country. Who’s up for a really nerdy road trip?