May 16, 2016
Bianca JonesStaff Writer
Last week, Aaron Neuhouser climbed the steep face of a Himalayan mountain for an incredible view — and he did so without ever taking his feet off the ground or leaving the United States.
You see, Aaron wasn’t actually on a mountain. He was virtually on a mountain.
Aaron was at the Best Buy store at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, where he had an opportunity to experience the highly anticipated Oculus Rift virtual reality headset for the first time.
“It’s entirely immersive,” he said. “It’s incredible to see.”
Best Buy is the first and only U.S. retailer where customers can try out Oculus Rift, with free in-store demos at 48 stores across the country. Hundreds of people have already participated, and the time slots for demos at many stores are booked up for days — or even weeks — in advance.
The demos feature two virtual reality experiences. There’s The Climb, the rock-climbing game that Aaron played, and there’s Dreamdeck, which transports you to places like the top a skyscraper or an alien encounter in outer space.
Haven’t tried VR yet and wondering what you can expect?
“A whole lot of awesomeness,” said Blue Shirt Tim Davis, an Intel Experience Expert at the Mall of America store.
This is expected to be abreakthrough year for VRbecause the immersive technology is getting easier for consumers to acquire. The Consumer Technology Association (CTS) estimates that virtual reality headset sales will increase 500 percent to 1.2 million units in 2016.
If you want to experience the fully immersive world of virtual reality for yourself, sign up for a demo at live.oculus.com. If time slots are full, try to score one of the walk-up sessions by visiting the store. To find a list of locations, visit BestBuy.com/Oculus.