Retailer Tries Charging People To Demo PlayStation VR

Retailer Tries Charging People To Demo PlayStation VR

Some GAME stores in the UK are charging people to try the new PlayStation VR headset. Not to buy it. Just to try it.

£15 is just over USD$18 in this post-Brexit world. The fact they’re charging at all is nuts, but charging that much is insane. While some stores, like the one above, are being upfront about the pricing, others are being a bit more coy about it:

Your demo is free only if you buy this £350 piece of hardware? How generous of you.

Dear British readers: please do not do this.


  • GAME is everything we say about EB Games, but actually true.

    When they were around, it was always a chore browsing their stores, let along actually buying anything.

    What game did they flat out get black-balled from selling again?

    • I don’t remember them getting black-balled from stocking a game but the UK stores stopped stocking EA games, and locally there were pre-orders for Diablo 3 that didn’t get filled when they went in to administration.

    • Game UK is shit, like how GameStop in the US is terrible. Game AU was pretty great, and honestly EB is more than fine.

  • I can see a couple of reasons why they would want to do this.

    1 – They are a games store, not an arcade. Putting a price on it will discourage all the riff raff coming in wanting to play it over and over.

    2 – They may have had to purchase their demo unit at their own cost.

    • They are a games store, not an arcade. Putting a price on it will discourage all the riff raff coming in wanting to play it over and over.

      I know it’s been a while since most people have gone to an arcade, but they do put a price on it.

        • There’s a new one opening near me, where an old Time Zone used to be.

          Kinda excited and a little worried. (If it ends up being all ticket machines and a few broken Point Blank and Time Crisis cabinets, I will die inside)

        • Most of them these days tend to be a mix of crane games, dance games and a couple of old Daytona cabinets. I hope yours is better.

          OTOH I was lucky to go to Japan earlier this year and there was a Sega building in Akihabara with something like six floors of actual arcade cabinets (mostly fighting games.) Not being a fighting game fan, I gave it a miss… but that was a SERIOUS arcade.

    • 1. Nobody mistakes them for an Arcade, they have a number of free demo kiosks already without issue

      2. It actually doesn’t matter, if it is display model they can’t charge for promotional material, if it isn’t display model they are breaking consumer law.

      What next, $5 to see a display model TV or stereo get turned on?
      $2 free food samples at a supermarket?
      Hey, did you look at that poster? $10!!

      • If a supermarket wants to charge you $2 for a food sample, it’s perfectly legal for them to do so as long as you know what you’re paying and what you’re getting for it. Ditto your other examples. They can’t demonstrate something (with you expecting it to be free) and THEN demand payment.

        Also, this is in the UK. Consumer law there is not the same as it is here.

        I can see why they’re doing it. They’re trying to deal with the people who go to go to GAME for a demo and then buy it somewhere else. It’s an issue many retailers are having to cope with.

        • No, they can’t charge for food samples.
          Hence why no supermarket chains do so. (Legitimately anyway)
          Those products are promotional and done with partners who often provide their own staff in many cases. (Unlike this one)

          Now from my understanding, GAME is using the official VR Demo pod, the same one being demo’d for free in shopping centres here in Oz.
          If true, the promotional material should be fairly clear about such practices. (If you have set up a demo/sample stand before, it comes with a ton of paperwork)
          On the other hand, if GAME purchased a unit to do their own demos, they cannot make money from a licensed product in such a way anyway.

          Under UK consumer law, just like ours, you could pay for a demo, decide not to buy one and ask for a refund which they would have to honour.

          • Yes, they can charge for food samples. They don’t because they want you to buy their food – the sample is a loss leader. But if they open a stall within their shop offering food samples and making it clear that you have to pay for them, that is perfectly legal. Why would it not be? It’s basically a store within a store, which is not that uncommon. If you don’t want to pay for the food sample, don’t take it.

            They wouldn’t sell much, but that’s their problem.

            GAME can also charge for a demo. Agreed that use of such is limited by their contract with Sony (in particular any terms limiting rent of the software). But broadly speaking, you can charge for anything as long as it is fit for purpose, of merchantable quality and both parties understand the terms in advance.

            Now if the person doing the demo legitimately finds fault, there is legal cause for non-payment. In the case of GAME, they are charging for you to evaluate the unit; it is a legitimate service.

            This does depend on how they pitch it. If they are pitching “fifteen minutes of VR” as their service, then if you don’t enjoy it you can and should be able to get a refund. If the pitch is “Fifteen minutes to evaluate PS VR in order to decide whether you wish to purchase the unit” and take reasonable care to ensure you are given the chance to evaluate the unit, then charging is reasonable even if you do NOT enjoy yourself. At that point you have received the service (an experience supporting your decision on whether to buy it.).

            It comes down to the “fitness for purpose” thing. If somebody sells you fertilizer, you’re entitled to a refund if they give you a chocolate cake instead. Similarly you’re entitled to a refund if they sell you a bucket of manure, telling you that you are buying a tasty dessert treat.

          • To be fair, tastiness is rather subjective. Some desserts to you or me could taste like manure. Surely logic dictates that some manure… could taste like dessert?

      • No need for the hyperbole. They are targeting potential VR buyers not the experience itself.

        If they are open about the charge then there is no issue, people can make their own decision whether it’s worth it or not.

        I don’t think the Bullring store has really thought through that tweet very well. I can’t see anyone handing over a fee to try it if they are only disclosing the charge after the service has been provided.

    • i can see a few positives to it too. Albeit a bit of an extra cash grab. It’s not like this concept is done to test drive a car before buying, a somewhat more significant investment.

      Now if it was just a few $ and they made a point of it going to a charity then all the more for it, if humble bundle can do it, why not them.

      It may not be popular but I’m surprised this hasn’t been adopted to consoles as well. All to often I see parents leaving the kids at EB (or other gaming stores) to babysit them playing consoles (consoles they already have at home) whilst they do the shopping.
      At least this way the parents will be more likely to take them along instead of leaving them unattended to hog the machines actual customers with cash ready may want to try out.

  • I feel bad for the poor employees who have to handle Playstation VR demos. Demo kiosks are awful at the best of times, and this one is super popular with a face mounted component to keep clean.

  • To be fair, the experience of trying it really is THE experience.

    It’s not like a normal game where the first 5 minutes are getting used to it and it’s worth rolls out over the coming hours.
    The best part of VR in its current form (particularly with the PS VR launch games) is the first 2 minutes, as soon as the VR sensation passes you’re just playing a shallow, badly compromised game that you wouldn’t normally touch.

    In a way it kinda reminds me of the old arcade business model from the Sega Saturn days. “Arcade in your home” with a unique experience seems like a good way to spend $600, but a few weeks later you’ll be wishing you bought something with a bit of substance.

    • I liken it to 3D gaming. When Wolfenstein came around, the experience of BEING the character was amazing, and turned an otherwise basic game into something revolutionary.

      VR can do the same, and largely for the same reasons, but its going to need the content to work well. Flight simulators, and other more sedentary games might be where this works first.

  • Ironically that is probably the best business model for VR, I don’t want to spend $800+ (I don’t own a PS4) on another Kinect but to pay $5 and have a go in an arcade- that would be cool!

  • I can kind of understand the reasoning tbh. A VR setup isn’t as simple as bolting a TV to a wall with a console attached. There would need to be an allocated staff member attending to set up the user and to guide them in using it, much like every other VR showcase at conventions.

    This is probably the reason why no-one else is doing VR displays,

  • The price in the article is 15 pounds but in the tweet its 5 pounds. Can Luke fix this?

    Doesn’t make it any less ridiculous that they’re charging for it though

    EDIT: I know there’s two prices listed; to go with the higher is an interesting editorial choice was what I was getting at.

  • I wouldn’t try a display model even if they paid me…make me pay and I’d laugh in their face.

    Asking for a nasty eye infection if you try out a headset that’s open to the public.

  • I can’t imagine Sony would be too happy about this. Plus if your trying to sell it, putting a extra pay wall up isn’t going to help you at all.

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