You have to experience VR to believe it. That can be a tough sell if you have to upgrade your PC, buy all the necessary hardware, and then hunt for worthwhile software just to see if you're going to enjoy what VR platforms currently have to offer. Microsoft wants to make that pitch a little easier, and to do that, it's added four new Oculus VR demos to select Microsoft Stores (opens in new tab) throughout the U.S. so you can experience VR at no cost.
The demos involve some of the hottest VR experiences released in recent months. You'll be able to play Rock Band VR in all its rhythm-centric glory; experience the thrill of shooting humanoid robots in Robo Recall; chop up some fruit in Fruit Ninja VR; and get a tableside seat to a performance ripped straight out of Disney's live-action "Beauty and the Beast" with Lumiere's Dress Rehearsal. (Who hasn't wanted to feel like a Disney princess?)
That's an impressive lineup--and it's bound to highlight the potential of the Oculus Rift in particular. Rock Band VR and Robo Recall are both exclusive to the platform, and they're bound to stay that way, because Oculus partnered with Harmonix and Epic Games to publish their respective titles. Fruit Ninja VR and Lumiere's Dress Rehearsal are also on the HTC Vive, though, so the demos will also offer a peek into the experience available for that platform.
Microsoft didn't offer any indication about whether or not the demos are limited. On the one hand, it's hard to imagine the company encouraging loiterers to spend all day playing virtual guitar or listening to "Be Our Guest" for hours on end. On the other hand, people might not clamor to try on a headset that other people have worn.
The Oculus Rift headset, Oculus Touch motion controllers, and Oculus-ready PCs can all be purchased from Microsoft's online store. (Which for some reason is also called the Microsoft Store.) If you buy the Oculus Touch controllers from the online Microsoft Store before April 5, you'll also get Rock Band VR for free. Oh, and just in case it needs to be said: Microsoft said anyone between the ages of 13-18 needs a guardian's permission to experience the demos.