Movie entertainment is finally going to change, thanks to virtual reality. IMAX Corp,, known for large screens, has decided to bet big on virtual reality. The company, by the end of this year, will launch VR experience in multiplex and malls. IMAX has partnered with Alphabet Inc. to create 360-degree images required in virtual reality.
IMAX has also partnered with Swedish technology developer Starbreeze AB on its location-based VR initiative. It’s also planning to use Starbreeze’s VR headsets. The thrust will also be to encourage filmmakers to create VR content.
Initially VR theatres will be launched in six locations worldwide as a part of the larger VR strategy and gradually it will expand.
IMAX Chief Executive Richard Gelfond said, “Virtual reality in the home is going to be a crowded space, but we thought the idea of doing VR in the multiplex of the future was a place where we can provide a superior experience and a social experience, which are the same reasons people go to movies,”.
IMAX is looking to Hollywood studios and filmmakers to provide virtual reality movies. Hollywood director Michael Bay and Paramount Pictures are being to rope in to contribute in the VR content.
“As a filmmaker, IMAX’s location-based VR offering presents an exciting opportunity to transport audiences even further into the worlds we create,” Bay said in a statement. “We are in advanced discussions with IMAX now on some fun VR concepts and I look forward to test-driving their new technology.”
However, there are challenges galore as VR headsets from companies such as Starbreeze and Oculus Rift are expensive. It also requires high-end PC and more space.
So IMAX is trying out-of-home, short-term rental experiences.“We’ll be able to leap five years ahead of what most people can do in their homes,” said Starbreeze CEO Bo Andersson Klint.
According to the press statement by the company IMAX will create a “premium VR experience” leveraging the Starbreeze’s headset technology, StarVR, that provides a 210-degree peripheral view.
“As technology and entertainment options evolve, we continue to innovate and find new platforms to extend The IMAX Experience,” said IMAX Corp. CEO Richard L. Gelfond.
“We believe VR is an area that holds tremendous promise and is a natural progression for IMAX given our established worldwide brand presence, our immersive entertainment
It is also not clear how this will be rolled out, whether the company will install VR headsets at high footfall locations.
These developments indicate that VR has started coming out in the mass market, but reality is that the technology is still in the infancy state. The headsets are extremely expensive and it will take time before the price comes down. If you add the cost of expensive computers, the overall price goes out of the pocket of average consumer.