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HTC now offering live Vive demos in Microsoft stores, GameStop locations nationwide

Although we’ve seen reviews of the HTC Vive scattered across the Internet, how can you check out the virtual reality headset for yourself? After all, $800 is a lot of money to spend on a new device spearheading a still-emerging new industry. Thankfully, HTC wants your business, and has teamed up with Microsoft and GameStop to provide in-store demos of the Vive headset. Even more, consumers will be able to place reservations for June orders if they’re convinced the HTC Vive is the right fit for their VR needs.

The partnership will see the HTC Vive demo experience taking place this week in the Microsoft Flagship store in New York, the store located in Washington’s Bellevue Square, and the store located in Utah’s City Creek Center. Later on, the demo will roll out in the Microsoft store located in Colorado’s Park Meadows Mall and additional Microsoft stores throughout April, totaling 30 stores by the end of 2016.

Related: HTC Vive review

On the GameStop front, the HTC Vive demo will be offered in 10 locations by mid-April. These demos will be open to the public and served up in individual sessions. Unfortunately, a list of locations was not provided at the time of this writing, but a full list is expected to be provided on the HTC Vive website here. HTC didn’t say what the Vive will be tethered to in the GameStop demos, but stated that the Microsoft-based demos will run on Alienware Area-51 PCs.

The HTC Vive VR headset is backed by Valve Software’s SteamVR platform, which supports more than 120 VR-based titles that are available on Steam now. The demo will showcase some of that content although HTC didn’t specify in its press briefing what titles will be available for potential customers to experience.

As for what comes with the HTC Vive, the package is loaded, so be prepared if you plan on buying this product. In addition to the headset itself, the setup includes two base stations and their power adapters, the link box and its power adapter, a mounting kit, two controllers, an audio headset, earbuds, two micro USB chargers, a handful of cables, and more. The HTC Vive requires plenty of room for movement, so it will be interesting to see how Microsoft and GameStop will offer demos while also preventing users from smashing into other customers.

The final version of the HTC Vive launched on April 5, and requires a PC with Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 installed. On the hardware front, it needs an Intel Core i5-4590 or an AMD FX 8350 processor (or equivalent) at the very least along with a graphics card sporting a Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 (or equivalent) chip. The PC also needs 4GB of memory or more, an HDMI 1.4 port, a DisplayPort 1.2 port, and a USB 2.0 port.

Those, again, are the minimum requirements. With Microsoft using an Area-51 desktop in its Vive demos, the company is making sure that not only is the headset running optimally, but the VR software is smooth as butter as well. Alienware is known to provide desktop solutions to run gaming demos at events such as the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3.

For a complete rundown of the HTC Vive, we offer an FAQ right here that should answer all of your questions. Also make sure to check with the HTC Vive website to see what GameStop stores will be offering the HTC Vive demos in your area as they become available.