John Lewis has started stocking a VR headset

Ben Parfitt
John Lewis has started stocking a VR headset

Straight-laced, stiff upper-lipped, very-sensible middle class British High Street retailer John Lewis has got all modern, like, by adding a virtual reality headset to its shelves.

It's called the Freefly VR. It costs 49.95 and can be found on the fifth level of the store's flagship Oxford Street outlet.

The unit is compatible with the Samsung Note 4 and offers a large field of view. It comes with a number of demos including an HD Strictly Come Dancing 360 Experience, a VR Bjork concert and a fast lap with former Stig Ben Collins.

All of which is as frightfully British as we could have hoped for.

"The release of the Freefly in John Lewis stores this Christmas marks a true firing pistol moment for VR production, and the start of mass adoption outside of the pure PC gamer market,” co-founder of the demo developer Rewind Solomon Rogers said.

"Although the high profile gaming orientated VR headsets are coming out in Q1 2016, the Freefly VR headset has got a head start on them on price point, and ease of use as you can use any smartphone with it. By deploying and developing VR experiences for mobile use, we have access to the current two billion worldwide smartphone users.

We see this market being the most influential in this early stage of the VR race.”

Mark Little, headset designer at Proteus VR, added: To be able to open people's eyes to the immersive impact of virtual reality in such an established well known store is hugely exciting for us.”

Co-founder Jonathan Tustain chipped in, too: Although we know how engaging and lifelike mobile virtual reality can be, our greatest challenge is educating the public. Now people can experience it for themselves and we can't wait to watch their reactions. A common misperception is virtual reality is exclusively for gamers but the scope is far wider.”

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