The IMAX VR Center will open later this year.
With a test pilot center already under development in Los Angeles, IMAX has announced they will also be launching their first European center in Manchester, England.
In partnership with European exhibitor ODEON and UCI Cinemas Group, the first pilot IMAX VR center will open by the end of 2016 and is expected to “deliver guests immersive, multi-dimensional VR experiences, including entertainment content and games.”
Advanced discussions are said to be underway with several content developers, including Hollywood studios and game publishers, to produce VR experiences that will range between 5 and 15 minutes in length each.
IMAX also plans to eventually incorporate premium content captured with a cinema-grade virtual reality camera that they are currently developing in partnership with Google.
The VR center will employ a new modular design – proprietary to IMAX – that will consist of several “pods” to allow multiple players to enjoy interactive, exciting, moveable VR experiences. The pods, which are designed to optimize user mobility and interaction in virtual environments, can be adapted for specific content experiences – whether single or multi-user.
IMAX is working with Acer and Starbreeze AB to incorporate their previously announced VR headset offers an extra-wide peripheral field of view.
In addition to the European VR center announcement, IMAX is already targeting to open additional test facilities in China, Japan, the U.S., the Middle East and Western Europe in the coming months. These new locations would be in addition to their first showroom and pilot IMAX VR center in Los Angeles.
We always say that the best way to introduce consumers to VR is through location-based centers like that which IMAX is rolling out. The intent of these initial pilot centers is to test customer experience, pricing models and vary VR content. If successful, the IMAX plans to roll out the concept globally to select multiplexes as well as commercial locations such as shopping centers and tourist destinations.
Image Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center & VRScout