Virtual reality is almost upon us humble console folk. The PlayStation VR is set to release this October and it looks like people really, really want one. During an earnings call GameStop COO Tony Bartel was asked his thoughts on the importance of VR for store traffic for the rest of the year by an investor. Here’s what he had to say (transcript of meeting provided by seekingalpha.com):
Sure. Absolutely. We literally have hundreds of stores that have stations in them, VR stations in them today and in a quarter of our stores we already have had events that have been strong traffic drivers, partnering very closely with Sony, each of our associates are going to be certified in the PlayStation VR. As you know, at this point, VR is suffering from – in Sony’s case, they’re not suffering, they just have it launched and in the other cases there is a low production that is not meeting demand. But we see tremendous traffic when we run these events in our stores and another element of just how much demand there is, we had the quickest sell-out of preorders in our history the last time we were able to put a PS VR for preorder, we were out literally in five minutes. So there is tremendous demand and in the back half of the year, as people come in, as they talk with our associates they’re incredibly knowledgeable and certified in this, we think it will be a good traffic driver, far beyond the sales that it will generate.
The PlayStation VR being the fastest sell-out of pre-orders in the history of GameStop is a little surprising. Considering the whole Amiibo craze that had seem to engulf gamers (and re-sellers); I would have expected any one of the Amiibo’s released would have easily bested anything that has come out or anything coming out in the future. It looks like even without the “killer app”, people can’t wait to step out of this reality and into a virtual one as soon (and affordably) as possible and try the “experiences” the PlayStation VR has to offer.