Hot on the heels of US game retail giant GameStop’s CEO Paul Raines announcing that “We’re going to be the destination for VR”, come news that the company has also cut a deal with Valve to stock the forthcoming wave of new Steam hardware, probably to include SteamVR’s flagship VR headset, the HTC Vive.

GameStop CEO Paul Raines
GameStop CEO Paul Raines

Valve is set to move beyond the realms of software distribution world domination into the hardware realm as they prepare an assault on PC gaming and virtual reality later this year.

We reported in March this year that a new page had appeared on Steam’s website indicating we were to expect a collection of new hardware solutions from Valve as early as this November. The new kit includes the brand new, PC oriented Steam Controller gamepad, a video streaming device called Steam Link and of course the company’s much talked about Steam Machines. The big news for VR enthusiasts of course is the listing of SteamVR headset the HTC Vive on the same page.

steamvr htc vive developer edition unboxing (13)
SteamVR’s HTC Vive Headset (Developer Editions)

Gamasutra reports that Valve have reached an agreement with GameStop to begin stocking their new line of gaming hardware. Given GameStop’s recent aggressively positive statements regarding virtual reality retail and the surfacing of this new deal, it’s reasonable to expect that we’ll be seeing the HTC Vive in GameStop stores once the platform becomes widely available early next year – although this is yet to be confirmed.

Whilst the presence of bricks and mortar gaming stores has begun to feel somewhat anachronistic in today’s e-commerce world, ironically it may be the advent of cutting-edge virtual reality technology that sees a resurgence in physical stores. It’s now beyond a worn cliché, but VR needs to be experienced to fully appreciate and there’s no better place for that to happen first than in retail outlets like GameStop.

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Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.