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Best Buy Canada celebrated the grand arrival of Sony’s PlayStation VR in big way, hosting a pair of fan-centric launch parties at their flagship stores in downtown Toronto and Vancouver. Excited PlayStation fans were invited for a night of PlayStation VR game demos, the chance to win exclusive prizes, and of course, the opportunity to be among the first in Canada to purchase their very own PlayStation VR. Here’s a look at all the excitement that went down:

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One of the coolest aspects of the PS VR launch parties at Best Buy was that both participating stores opened at the exact same moment:

  • Toronto’s Bay & Dundas store opened October 12th at 11:59pm (EST)
  • Vancouver’s Granville & Robson store opened October 12th at 9pm (PST)

best_buy_psvr_launch_3Well, okay technically the Toronto location opened its doors a whole minute earlier, but essentially it was the same moment. Knowing that gamers in both cities were going to be getting their hands on Sony’s highly anticipated VR device simultaneously was thrilling to think about, plus how often do we see gaming product launches synced across the country like this? It’s pretty rare from my experience.

Both stores invited gamers to line up at 8pm local time, after which a limited number of tickets were handed out to secure your spot to purchase a PS VR when doors open. I had the pleasure of attending the Toronto midnight launch party, and when I arrived at roughly ten minutes to eight, there was already a very sizable line outside the Best Buy store. Those with tickets in hand were free to stay at the store to try out some PS VR demo games, or leave and come back just before midnight when the prize giveaways would start. Letting gamers choose to stay, or come back later was a great idea—major tech product launches have become synonymous with fans waiting hours in lines, but I could tell many people really appreciated Best Buy’s flexibility at this event.

best_buy_psvr_launch_4PlayStation VR demo stations were packed all night

For me, as someone who was covering the launch party live on two of Best Buy’s social media channels (Twitter and Instagram), I was wondering how I’d be able to capture the buzz of the event should fans opt to leave and come back. Luckily for me that didn’t happen though, as many of the gamers rushed to the PlayStation VR demo area, eager to try some games. There was an awesome selection of PS VR titles to demo—14 different games in all—including some of my favourites like RIGS: Mechanized Combat League, PlayStation VR Worlds, Thumper, Battlezone, Superhypercube, and Batman: Arkham VR. There were also some really interesting PS VR games that I haven’t have the opportunity to play yet (but now really want to), like Eve: Valkyrie, Bound, Carnival Games VR, and Scavenger’s Odyssey.

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Watching so many PlayStation fans try PS VR (many for the very first time) was tremendous fun. The big grins on their faces were indicative of the adrenaline rush they were getting stepping in the truly immersive worlds that PS VR offers. I was so preoccupied taking photos and videos to capture the fan excitement that I didn’t have the chance to play the demos myself that night, but as I wrote in my detailed review of PlayStation VR, the dozen or so games I’ve played thus far have been absolutely incredible. There are so many different types of experiences you can have with PS VR, from scary on-rail shooters (Until Dawn: Rush of Blood), to laugh-out-loud humourous takes on everyday jobs (Job Simulator), to even short animated films (Allumette) completely in VR. I’m blown away by PS VR’s launch line up, and it looks like other gamers at the event felt the same way.

best_buy_psvr_launch_6Prizes for those in line

Around 11:50 p.m., the blue shirt Best Buy staff made their way outside with a megaphone in hand to start announcing the prizes, which included a PS4 console and 6 games, along with $100 gift cards redeemable at Best Buy. Talk about some great prizes! Giveaway prizes at launch events are always a lot of fun, but this was one of the most memorable I’ve seen with the crowd really getting into the moment with loud cheers and applause. Here’s a picture of the elated winners:

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Not only did they get the opportunity to be the first gamers in Canada to purchase their own PlayStation VR unit (from a very limited supply) but they also got to go home with great prizes. Lucky folks!

best_buy_psvr_launch_8PlayStation VR goes on sale

At 11:59 p.m. EST (9 p.m. PST), the doors of both Best Buy stores were opened for customers to come inside and buy their PS VR. I was really impressed with the huge crowd at the Toronto location, and from what I heard about the Vancouver store, it was just as packed. I got some amazing footage of the PlayStation gamers coming into the store (see the video below!) and being the first in Canada to purchase their very own PS VR. I love seeing such passionate gamers, and this crowd was very energetic and enthusiastic—who can blame them? PS VR would soon be theirs!

best_buy_psvr_launch_9Behind the Best Buy cashiers was a sight I just loved to see: entire skids full of PlayStation VRs, PS4 consoles, PlayStation Cameras, PlayStation Move Controllers, and rows of PS VR video games. I know how hot of an item PS VR is (the initial online orders completely sold out in mere days), so seeing about 100+ of them right in front of me was awesome. Seeing the gamers finally get their hands on PS VR? It was even better!

Incredible virtual worlds await

With PS VRs bought and bagged, fans were on their way home to experience Sony’s phenomenal new VR technology. They have a lot of excitement in store for them—PS VR is awesome! If you’ve never experienced PS VR, it’s definitely something you should put on your must-do list this holiday season. Once you try PS VR, and see its vast potential to revolutionize the future of PlayStation gaming, you’ll understand just how amazing and incredible this new VR technology is.

Want to see how thrilled the gamers in line at Best Buy were to get their very own PS VR? Check out the video I put together from the night below!

To see why “Greatness Awaits” you with PS VR, also be sure to check out Best Buy’s PS VR gaming page.

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