Virtual reality demos have been covered extensively by the tech media, but there have been few chances for the public to try out any of the upcoming VR HMDs. We just wrote about the fact that Oculus will finally be publicly showing demos on the Rift this weekend at PAX, and there will also be three different stations available to give HTC's Vive a trial run at the show.
HTC is betting big on Vive. The company shocked the world when it announced the headset at Mobile World Congress 2015. It's hard to believe it's only been half a year since the headset was first revealed to the world. Since then, we (and many other outlets) have written extensively about Vive, and the HMD has been garnering praise from nearly all who have tried it, including us.
The problem that HTC faces in selling the Vive is that very few people outside of tech media have had the opportunity to try any VR headset, never mind HTC's Vive with room scale body tracking. In order for people to buy into VR, they will need to experience it first.
To combat that issue, HTC has been setting up stations at various locations around the world, letting people try out the headset for the first time. The current stop for HTC's Vive World Tour is none other than PAX Prime. The tour bus is parked at 8th and Pine for the duration of the expo, and it will be running from 10am to 8pm daily. The demo being shown will run for 20 minutes, and it features TheBlu, Job Simulator and Tilt Brush. The demos will also include one of two additional games -- Aperture Robot Repair or The Dota Shopkeeper.
Slots for the demo experience get filled up in the morning, starting at 10am. If you would like a chance to try it, get there early. The HTC World Tour truck is not limited to PAX attendees; it is open to the public.
For those with PAX passes, there will be other chances to try out the Vive headset. HTC has a private room at the Sheraton Hotel where it will be running multiple Vive demos, as well. The company said the demos on these units will be very similar to the one shown on the world tour bus, with the exception of two new games that have not been demoed before; Final Approach from Phaser Lock Interactive and Fantastic Contraption, created jointly by Radial Games and Northway Games, will make their debut at PAX.
HTC can be found in the Revenna room on the third floor of the Sheraton Hotel. The company will be booking slots starting at 9am for this station, and demos will run from 10am until 10pm. A PAX badge will be required to sign up for this trial.
Cloudhead Games is also in attendance, though again not on the show floor. The company is set up across from the convention center at the Grand Hyatt, where it will be running demos of its upcoming Vive game The Gallery: Call of the Starseed, and showcasing Blink, the company's new VR locomotion system that is meant to reduce nausea to the absolute minimum.
Though there are multiple demo stations outside of the convention center, Vive will still have a presence on the floor, as well. Nvidia will be running its own Vive demos at its booth, and from 2-4pm on both Friday and Saturday, a special event will be held where artists will have 30 minutes to create the most amazing thing they can using Tilt Brush. Penny Arcade's Mike Krahulik will be one of the artists to give it a shot.
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Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.
16538812 said:Tech companies are putting so much in immaculate branding and marketing of their headsets prior to release (as the Vive is delayed till Q1 2016), the main obstacle I see in mass adoption, even after the acceptance by public, are the prices.
For a mass adoption of VR headset of any race, prices should need be at a reasonable scale for general public to buy. We should not forget the current economical chaos happening i the world and this might affect the sales of virtual reality devices as well.
Mass adoption is going to take some time, regardless of price. The best way to get the public on board (coming from someone who's had the chance to play with VR many times) is to get the public trying it out, and spreading the word.
If you're buddy comes home from PAX raving about VR, you'll be interested to at least experience it yourself (hypothetical, generalised situation)
Economic issues will certainly have an impact on adoption, but there are plenty of people with money to burn that will be the early adopters. I expect to see HMDs priced between $400 and $600 (purely speculation, I don't know anything official). VR wont be selling as fast as the average console, but when people jump to buy $600, $1000 and even $3000 graphics cards, there's room to sell VR headsets in that market.
In regards to the Vive delay. That is absolutely false.
HTC has maintained since the begining that it will release a limited run of Vive units this year. At no point did the company say it would be widely available.
The headset will be shipping this year in small supply, and ramping up in early 2016.