UK Game Store Charges People $6 to Test PSVR For 10 Minutes

UK Game Store Charges People $6 to Test PSVR For 10 Minutes

Forget "try before you buy," Game UK are running a "pay before you buy" campaign with PlayStation VR.

Virtual Reality is really hard to sell to people via traditional marketing means. It really is something that the user has to experience first hand to understand. Additionally, you've got no idea if the thing you're about to drop $400 will simply make you violently ill every time you use it (like in my case!). Well if you want to get your hands on the PlayStation VR in the UK, Game UK have unveiled an... interesting strategy in where it is charging users up to $18 to simply take it for a test drive. For real.

Eurogamer reports on the "special deal," which is charges customers as thus:

  • For a 10 minute demonstration: 5.00GBP (~$6USD)
  • For a 20 minute demonstration: 10.00GBP (~$12USD)
  • For a 30 minute demonstration: 15.00GBP (~$18USD)

If you opt to purchase a PSVR immediately after your demo, you'll get your money refunded. But if you walk away thinking "this isn't for me," or want a few days to think about your purchase, then Game keeps your cash.

The "promotion" has sparked plenty of outrage from customers, who see it as exploitative. Others question Sony's involvement. In response, Game UK released the following statement:

Our pay-to-play PlayStation VR experience is a GAME-led initiative. The cost to use the in-store PS4 pod is entirely refundable for customers that go on to buy either the headset or a PS4 console. The payment allows us to ensure that we have dedicated staff manning the PlayStation VR pods who have been fully trained to adhere to best practice demo guidelines.
The demos are intended to give our customers access to one of the most exciting new gaming technologies in 2016 and provide them with the opportunity to get a feel for VR before they commit to buy.

What do you guys think about this promotion? Is it a dick move, or simply a legitimate business strategy?

Source: Eurogamer

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It's hard for me to get entirely up in arms about it, simply because I was around for the first wave of "VR" technology, before the Pentium computer came out- and I have vague memories of paying some ungodly amount of money for about five minutes of VR time.

But, then again, that was then. They aren't exactly trying to sell this as bleeding edge or specialty, but as a consumer device- one they're hoping will get into a lot of homes.

Let's just say that while I can't see it as a "dick" move, it's not a very smart move as far as getting the thing into more people's hands. Especially as there are places in the U.S. where one can apparently demo one for free, making for an obvious and un-enviable comparison.

At the minimum, they should at least have made it a flat fee, and the demo takes as long as it takes. Most of the "experiences" available on PSVR are of limited duration anyway.

That's like a literal paid demo.
Not very smart if you want to sell the thing which can only be quantified by experiencing it firsthand to as many people as possible.

If there was no charge then stores would be inundated with people simply messing around with the equipment, with no intent to spend money, like when they had special stations to test out the new consoles, people simply hang out there and played games.
I couldn't get to see the 3DS as there was always a gang of 'kids' loitering around the demo stations for that device.

How do you separate people looking for free entertainment from those that want to test before paying?
If one is considering laying down the cash for the device, the small upfront fee to test the experience would be nothing, only people not willing to pay anything will complain.
Its not a paid demo as such demo's are usually downloaded to your own device and use your own equipment to run it, and as such would be a dick move, in this case its their equipment they are risking.

ASnogarD:

only people not willing to pay anything will complain.

That's a rather bold statement. This 'pay to play' approach will only ensure hardcore PS4/VR fans would pay for it, and since they are most likely going to buy it anyway, the scheme only ensures that those who are not fully committed to buying before they set foot in store, won't even look at it. And if the uptake of the other VR devices are any metric to go by, limiting the potential sales isn't going to be a good long term move.

Fully trained team manning the ps vr.

Fully.Trained.

Demo time should always be free, especially as a way to sell technology that makes some people feel pretty ill. It's a dick move but anyone who has been in a Game store since they went into administration probably understands they'll try to make money any way they can.

Not really. How many people have paid $6 to lose at a Carnival game in less than that time?

Im more bothered that the additional times are redundant. Basically $6 = 10 minutes. Its not like you get a cheaper deal by paying a higher premium. It isnt 6 for 10 OR 10 for 20 OR 12 for 30. Its 6 = 10/x2/x3.

If it was here, Id be tempted to try it out.

it's petty, but you know what bugs me the most? don't offer multiple "packages" in increasing increments if there isn't a price break. only your first listing was necessary, GAME.

Saelune:
Not really. How many people have paid $6 to lose at a Carnival game in less than that time?

Im more bothered that the additional times are redundant. Basically $6 = 10 minutes. Its not like you get a cheaper deal by paying a higher premium. It isnt 6 for 10 OR 10 for 20 OR 12 for 30. Its 6 = 10/x2/x3.

If it was here, Id be tempted to try it out.

haha, my soulmate. probably should have read your comment before posting the same thing. just goes to show that it's a bigger problem than any of us realized.

Saelune:
Not really. How many people have paid $6 to lose at a Carnival game in less than that time?

Im more bothered that the additional times are redundant. Basically $6 = 10 minutes. Its not like you get a cheaper deal by paying a higher premium. It isnt 6 for 10 OR 10 for 20 OR 12 for 30. Its 6 = 10/x2/x3.

If it was here, Id be tempted to try it out.

That begs the question though; is 10 minutes enough time to determine if you'll get super motion sick? Sometimes they take a little bit to get used too. And if a dozen people are trying to buy 30 minute slots, who wants to wait all day? It's a difficult prospect all around.

martyrdrebel27:

Saelune:
Not really. How many people have paid $6 to lose at a Carnival game in less than that time?

Im more bothered that the additional times are redundant. Basically $6 = 10 minutes. Its not like you get a cheaper deal by paying a higher premium. It isnt 6 for 10 OR 10 for 20 OR 12 for 30. Its 6 = 10/x2/x3.

If it was here, Id be tempted to try it out.

haha, my soulmate. probably should have read your comment before posting the same thing. just goes to show that it's a bigger problem than any of us realized.

It happens, no worries.

LTenhet:

Saelune:
Not really. How many people have paid $6 to lose at a Carnival game in less than that time?

Im more bothered that the additional times are redundant. Basically $6 = 10 minutes. Its not like you get a cheaper deal by paying a higher premium. It isnt 6 for 10 OR 10 for 20 OR 12 for 30. Its 6 = 10/x2/x3.

If it was here, Id be tempted to try it out.

That begs the question though; is 10 minutes enough time to determine if you'll get super motion sick? Sometimes they take a little bit to get used too. And if a dozen people are trying to buy 30 minute slots, who wants to wait all day? It's a difficult prospect all around.

My main point was defending the idea of paying to try VR, especially at more than a fair price I feel. Other issues may abound, but thats more situational.

Ive yet to use VR, and as Ive said, Id probably give this a go if it was happening near me.

ASnogarD:
If there was no charge then stores would be inundated with people simply messing around with the equipment, with no intent to spend money, like when they had special stations to test out the new consoles, people simply hang out there and played games.
I couldn't get to see the 3DS as there was always a gang of 'kids' loitering around the demo stations for that device.

How do you separate people looking for free entertainment from those that want to test before paying?
If one is considering laying down the cash for the device, the small upfront fee to test the experience would be nothing, only people not willing to pay anything will complain.
Its not a paid demo as such demo's are usually downloaded to your own device and use your own equipment to run it, and as such would be a dick move, in this case its their equipment they are risking.

Having seen this myself I'm in total agreement. Free demo=shop full of asshole teenagers using it as a social gathering to the detriment of everybody else.

I've no intention of buying VR as it stands but i'd be more than willing to pony up a few quid to give it a try

not really too mad about this.. If not for the fact that the deterrent reduces the chance of getting pinkeye from the headset.

People aren't very hygenic..

Well, that's one way to encourage people to stay away from VR. Certainly worked for me, now I changed from "no interest" to "stay the hell away from it as humanly possible" without paying a single penny.

My feelings are mixed, though I do agree with a lot of the points being brought up.

First off, are we talking about the full experience here? I mean, I could walk into my local PBTech and try on some VR phone thing, which is alright, but obviously not exactly the best way to trial ridiculous full-room experiences.

ASnogarD:
If there was no charge then stores would be inundated with people simply messing around with the equipment, with no intent to spend money, like when they had special stations to test out the new consoles, people simply hang out there and played games.
I couldn't get to see the 3DS as there was always a gang of 'kids' loitering around the demo stations for that device.

How do you separate people looking for free entertainment from those that want to test before paying?
If one is considering laying down the cash for the device, the small upfront fee to test the experience would be nothing, only people not willing to pay anything will complain.
Its not a paid demo as such demo's are usually downloaded to your own device and use your own equipment to run it, and as such would be a dick move, in this case its their equipment they are risking.

I was one of those kids. Kind of still am. Bite me.

In all seriousness though, I wonder how popular these trial events are to the general populous? You're certainly right that they'd be PACKED with kids if it was free, but ignoring the outrage from gamers, I have to wonder if people are lining up to pay for a ten minute experience. Still, worst comes to worst, they can just make the trials cheaper or free to get the more casually curious into it. They don't need to pull in everyone who gives the thing a sideways glance right off the bat.

At least you won't get situations like the Kinect where some other dozy fuck would try to jump in front of you and start spazzing out in front of the TV while you're trying to play (Excuse my off-topic tangent, but Grown adults did that all the time. Grown adults! I don't care how technologically ignorant you are, that's just bad manners.)

Zulnam:
Fully trained team manning the ps vr.

Fully.Trained.

I dunno, this gear isn't like a console that you can just nail to the ground and then forget about. Not to mention a person who's effectively oblivious to the real world is danger to themselves and everyone around them. Shit got bad enough with people smashing stuff by accidentally throwing their Wii remotes.

Then again, it does look like they're essentially crying poverty over this. How much could it cost to get one or two guys to handle a customer?

Addendum: All in all, I can see this from both sides. I don't think this is "driving people away from VR" like some people are claiming, IF people are actually paying to trial this.

I knew it would be GAME who would pull this shit. Not surprised.

No one is really surprised. Game love to gouge prices out of pre-owned stuff so why not charge for a demo why you are at it.

My point is that someone who is seriously considering laying do the money for the device and its peripherals wouldn't balk at paying a few quid to check the device is actually going to deliver, or there isn't something that may make the experience sub optimal.

Lets be honest, its rather brave of the stores to allow players to check it out before buying, a lot may put off by the test experience and thus not buy, whereas a number would buy it on impulse because... VR.

... not to mention the costs of the demo equipment, wonder if Sony provides demo units or the store grabs up a unit and later sells it as used.

Infernal Lawyer:
Then again, it does look like they're essentially crying poverty over this. How much could it cost to get one or two guys to handle a customer?

The minimum wage applicable to the age of the people you are designating to the PS Vr.

Kibeth41:
not really too mad about this.. If not for the fact that the deterrent reduces the chance of getting pinkeye from the headset.

People aren't very hygenic..

God yes, I once had this job at a mall where I had to basically babysit a whole bunch of PS4 demo stands and it was placed right nearby the public toilets. During my one break as I was exiting the toilet I see this one person zoom by me to the Playstation, shaking literal drops of piss from his hands on the way. And that was one of the cleaner things that happened to those stands, I spent that night dealing with the WORST stomach bug I've ever had in my life (felt like I was going to die at one point) thanks to the constant contact I had with all the shit left on the controllers.

I also had to deal with constant fighting for controllers as well and this one group of really annoying teenagers who would try hog all the stands for hours and cause trouble with anyone who also wanted to try, bunch of troglodytes.

So yeah, after an experience like that, I say go for it with charging people as it will at the very least filter out some unwanted folks from the store and besides, if you're keen to spend money on VR (or have the money to do so) then this won't be such a major issue. And fortunately there's going to be other free opportunities to try it out at least, so can look elsewhere if you just want to give it a go to see what all the fuss is about with no intent of buying it (like me hehehehe).

Didn't they get the memo that we left the EU and the pound is doing badly? And what are they doing charging people in American dollars? The traitors!

The thing you need to know about Game is; you don't shop at Game if you don't want to be ripped off. Even if a new title is out that you cannot get at CeX, just go to Tesco. 24 hour service there and they won't try and funnel extra pennies from you as you attempt to pay for a single item.

Considering the history of VR games, this is a pretty horrible deal.

Back in the day (almost 20 years ago), VR game systems made the rounds in America with games like Raptors Rampage. Many malls had them, and not only did it have a VR headset, it had gloves you could wear (So you could aim your gun normally), you could even point your gun above you and shoot a raptor as it was flying away with you!!

Now the cost for those systems and others like it (Battle tech, Red Planet etc), where usually 1$ a minute. Which at the time (remember $1 is worth less now then it was then), seemed pretty extreme. VR addicts (my 4 best friends where all addicted), could blow thousands of dollars a month playing those games. It was pretty crazy.

That being said, even the ones in the arcade where huge setups, with tons of expensive equipment. The battle tech setups where even better, set up for full team fights, with rankings, tournaments etc. You got alot for what you paid.

Skip forward 20 years and now....they want to basically charge you 60 cents a minute to use something that is only $400 to freaking own yourself? I mean, $6 is 1.5% of the freaking purchase price!!! Here in America they let you try it out for free, but only at a very few select stores (my closest one is an hour away). Not worth it to me to make the drive just for that. I have way to many games to play and RPGs, platform games are my favorite and it's gonna be awhile till there are any great games of that genre for VR.

Honestly they are marketing this all wrong. They should make sure every freaking city (With over 5000 people in it) has at least one store (Gamestop, bestbuy etc), with a demo model for people to try. If you don't grab the players attention right away, even if something ends up having great potential, it may never reach that point.

I get charging to test the VR system out, but i'd do something like sign up to test it for 20 minutes for $5 (can call to sign up), with the same deal (if you end up buying the system you are refunded the 5...or for that matter never even charged it).

If the VR system rocks, the more people that try it, the more that will buy it. If it blows it's doomed anyway (at that price point). It makes no sense to put any roadblocks in the way of customers trying VR.

Cant say i blame them for charging. I can just imagine some wank stain is going to try to run off with a headset and put it up on ebay.

I despise GAME - partially for screwing the far superior Gamestation out of the market/my town, and partially because it's just a terrible, soulless store - but I don't really have any issues with this at all.

You can't have The Public and all their chancing chumps abusing one or two open stations, and having to be repeatedly corralled out of the store in mini-reruns of a scene from Black Books. Forcing people to pay lets them know they're there for a set time, gives them a flavour of the experience (not a lot can really be learnt from 10mins. they should've dropped the lowest bracket), and helps the Automated Service Drones staff control numbers and use.

It may not be the best way to showcase the tech, but it's by no means exploitative, and I don't really understand why anyone could take issue with it.

Smart, with conditions.

See, here's the thing. I used to work for a game store. We got the same asshats in almost every night loitering in the store, tying up the demo equipment and never buying a thing. I'm sure Game UK is seeing the same thing. With the fee, only serious buyers are going to be evaluating the new hardware and it's not going to be tied up dawn-to-dusk by people who have no intention of spending a nickel (or the UK equivalent) in the store. As a bonus, the store has a little extra cash to cover any extra sales staff required.

That said, there are going to be legitimate customers who try the thing, then decide it isn't for them. They should be able to apply the cash they spent on the demo on any nonreturnable product, whether it's a console, peripheral, game or what-have-you. That way, you're not alienating actual product-buying customers.

Demo time should always be free, especially as a way to sell technology that makes some people feel pretty ill. It's a dick move but anyone who has been in a Game store since they went into administration probably understands they'll try to make money any way they can.

As someone who works in retail and has had to deal with free services and provision I agree with what Game is doing. First thing you learn about free offers is that people will rip the utter shite out of them and will do so with no intention of ever buying or paying for anything even when you end up advising them that they require additional service or product. I have no issue with free services that are linked to paid product or free service that doesn't require me to assign a colleague to oversee it but free services that have no buy in and require colleague over sight are a fucking piss take and they are a fucking piss take purely because members of the public will take the piss.

Good for you Game

ASnogarD:

If one is considering laying down the cash for the device, the small upfront fee to test the experience would be nothing, only people not willing to pay anything will complain.

Because paying to test something to see if you're going to hurl is blatantly greedy on part of the operator.

Its not a paid demo as such demo's are usually downloaded to your own device and use your own equipment to run it, and as such would be a dick move, in this case its their equipment they are risking.

Considering what Demo is actually a shortened term of, it's quite literally a paid demonstration of the hardware and software for said hardware.

LegendaryGamer0:

ASnogarD:

If one is considering laying down the cash for the device, the small upfront fee to test the experience would be nothing, only people not willing to pay anything will complain.

Because paying to test something to see if you're going to hurl is blatantly greedy on part of the operator.

Its not a paid demo as such demo's are usually downloaded to your own device and use your own equipment to run it, and as such would be a dick move, in this case its their equipment they are risking.

Considering what Demo is actually a shortened term of, it's quite literally a paid demonstration of the hardware and software for said hardware.

If you cant afford ?6 to see if the device will make you hurl, then you have no business considering a ?400 peripheral that is still mostly gimmicky and aimed squarely at those with more cash than sense, or seriously bored but financially secure individuals.
I would happily pay to see if the device was viable for me, and I would rather not have to fight masses of people messing with the device for free entertainment.

I consider a demo I downloaded to trial on my own platform but I need to pay to actually run a dick move as it is my equipment, and I used my bandwidth to download it, its risks my stuff and only costs the provider the bandwidth to host it.
One being a virtual commodity, the other being a physical one in a physical location.

ASnogarD:

If you cant afford ?6 to see if the device will make you hurl,

Or it'd be not wanting to give the stiff at the counter the price of nearly two new-but-older games to test the full affects of this contraption on my body and to see if it holds up to hype.

then you have no business considering a ?400 peripheral that is still mostly gimmicky and aimed squarely at those with more cash than sense, or seriously bored but financially secure individuals.

Pretty sure that determination is up to the person actually interested in the product. And again, not wanting to give a store basically free money for a quick session to determine the usefulness and enjoyment of a product does not mean one cannot afford said product. Possibly the reason why they can afford said product is because they are selective in how they use their capital, such as in this very instance.

I would happily pay to see if the device was viable for me, and I would rather not have to fight masses of people messing with the device for free entertainment.

I just wait until all the kids are gone. Not many people are like me and want to look like an asshole for fifteen minutes while experiencing glee seeing EVE Online ships fly past me.

I consider a demo I downloaded to trial on my own platform but I need to pay to actually run a dick move as it is my equipment, and I used my bandwidth to download it, its risks my stuff and only costs the provider the bandwidth to host it.

Basically the same here but I still bought Ground Zeroes.

One being a virtual commodity, the other being a physical one in a physical location.

One that only requires electricity and using a demo unit or ripping one out of a box to use as a display model. Still remembering the days of standing in a store and waiting for the guy at the display to hand off to someone else. Good times.

As an Employee of Game, and someone who's store already had a phone robbery the past week, we're doing this for a semi good reason. Alot of shady people come in, get close and personal with valuable things like this. And it's not like we have any safe room or booth for people to demo in it, its literally right by the door usually with one christmas temp between it and the door, get an employee outnumbered and distracted enough on a busy day, and off a heist could be pulled, quite easily.

Frankly, I see both sides, but our stores are poorly equipped for demoing stuff like this safely and cost efficiently.

And yeah alot of people have actually tried it and then bought it...soooo as it's already a high luxury item you're dropping money on. You already know if it's something you can afford to try and buy anyway.

See it more as a paid firewall between our ?350 product and the strange people looking slightly drunk walking in, having a go and legging it as they shove our poor staff to the ground likely injuring them in the process.

(Hell I'm not even in that income bracket so I have to bitterly stand next to it. :< )

If it makes a difference, I work at a Best Buy in Minnesota (the northern US, for you foreigners), and we let people demo the PS VR for free 3 days a week.

uncanny474:
If it makes a difference, I work at a Best Buy in Minnesota (the northern US, for you foreigners), and we let people demo the PS VR for free 3 days a week.

The problem with that is that the best buys in the US as i've experienced are better manned, larger stores and not on busy high streets usually. GAME has some serious space issues when it comes to demos. We'd really like to be able to do this free and get as many people hyped about this as possible. But... our stores for lack of a better description, are bloody tiny.

Largest ones are barely the size of a quarter of a small best buy. And not particularly well staffed, 4 members during off peak times of year, 5-6 during the busiest. That includes everyone, management and sales.

The only GAME stores I can picture this being conceivable for are the ones stationed inside malls, who have the added buffer of mall security watching out for theft. But the ones on high streets, right next to all the dodgy gambling places in town? Nah. No.

Our demos in the 3 stores i've gone into is RIGHT NEXT TO AN OPEN DOOR. Like, christ I'm freaked out every time I have to guard it.

I could go on but just want to highlight the circumstances that are different, they're different worlds. That's not even getting into the extra buffers of large carparks and isles for customers and staff to get through, it's a lot of trouble to go through to steal it there, if I get crowded in game, that it, game over, I cannot move without injuring myself. If a group of large guys come in to take the VR from me nothing I could do would prevent it, but 5 pounds will stop someone just putting it on, having a friend distract me, and walking quickly off after subtly disconnecting the cables. Lost forever in the bustle of the highstreet after doing a runner.

Infernal Lawyer:

I hate VR, I hate Game, I hate sony.

Zulnam:
Fully trained team manning the ps vr.

Addendum: All in all, I can see this from both sides. I don't think this is "driving people away from VR" like some people are claiming, IF people are actually paying to trial this.

Fully.Trained.

What kind of a twister person modifies somebody's comment in their own reply? What is this, an NSA training facility?

And I was being facetious. That "fully trained" crew will be checking their phones or tending to other costumers.

Zulnam:

Infernal Lawyer:

I hate VR, I hate Game, I hate sony.

Zulnam:
Fully trained team manning the ps vr.

Addendum: All in all, I can see this from both sides. I don't think this is "driving people away from VR" like some people are claiming, IF people are actually paying to trial this.

Fully.Trained.

What kind of a twister person modifies somebody's comment in their own reply? What is this, an NSA training facility?

And I was being facetious. That "fully trained" crew will be checking their phones or tending to other costumers.

Bwahaha, whoops! Didn't even realize I was splicing my comment into the guy I was quoting XD Fixed now.

Still, judging by the comments by some employees, I kind of doubt checking their Facebook status would be worth losing hundreds of dollars worth of gear...

 

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