No matter how many or how many , you can't really understand what the new round of virtual reality hardware is like until you try it. For those without an early-adopting, VR-savvy friend nearby, 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 lay down at least $800 on a piece of the future, those retail location will also be taking pre-orders for delivery beginning in June, according to HTC.
Currently, the Vive demos are only available at three Microsoft Stores—in New York City, Bellevue, and Salt Lake City. Microsoft has plans to expand the program to 11 more stores in the US (and one in Sydney, Australia) by the end of the month and up to 30 locations by the end of the year. (Users have to be 18 years old to take part in the demos, according to Microsoft's website.) Gamestop, meanwhile, will start demonstrating the Vive at 10 locations across the US starting April 18.
That's a lot of Vive demo stations to keep track of, so we threw together a quick Google Map (below) that shows how far you'll have to travel to get your free taste of the headset (color-coded by retailer and demo start dates, click through for more details). Customers in central Florida, the New York area, Southern California, and the Pacific Northwest are spoiled for choices, while pickings are currently much slimmer in the vast middle of the country. Who's up for a really nerdy roadtrip?