The latest skirmish in the video game console wars has hit Scarborough.
Sony released the much anticipated PlayStation 4 (PS4) on Nov. 15 while Microsoft released the Xbox One a week later on Nov. 22.
Both companies are offering gamers the chance to try out their newest systems. Demo kiosks are available at retail stores like EB Games and Best Buy, among others, across Scarborough. Sony has also opened a PS4 pop-up shop at the Scarborough Town Centre (STC).
Matt Levitan, director of marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment Canada, said STC presented an ideal location for the PS4 shop.
“Traffic of the mall was a big part of it and Scarborough Town Centre gets huge numbers based on the fact that it’s on the transit line,” Levitan said. “But also the available space became a big part of it too… We needed a big enough space that was a three- or four-month lease.”
The Xbox One also has a pop-up shop at the corner of Yonge and Bloor Streets. A Microsoft representative said the location was chosen mainly for its accessibility to the greatest number of people.
The pop-up shops allow the public to try a greater variety of games than are available at retail store demo kiosks, Levitan said. The Xbox One shop features a selection of games that includes the exclusives Forza Motorsport 5 and Killer Instinct, while the PS4 store is showing off the exclusives Killzone: Shadowfall and Knack, among others.
Visitors at the PS4 location at the STC are allowed to enter in groups of 10-15 at a time. After a brief video, visitors are given about 20 minutes of free reign to experiment with the games.
“We keep it on a constantly revolving schedule,” Levitan said. “Because we know if we just let you stay, there’d be people who’ll stay for hours and we want to give everyone a chance.”
According to Levitan, the greater selection of games is not the only difference between the pop-up shop and demo kiosks.
“We wanted to have the very best experience that people could have,” Levitan said. “We want to create an actual environment, a space where they could come in and play all the launch games on a 60-inch TV sitting down in this cool pod, which we really feel gets across the benefit of what the console has to offer.”
The Xbox One pop-up shop will remain open until Dec. 28 while its PS4 counterpart is set to remain open until Jan. 5.
Locations of retail store demo kiosks and hours of availability are for the PS4 and Xbox One can be found at experienceplaystation.com and xbox.com/en-CA/playxboxone/home respectively.