IMAX is Going Big Into Virtual Reality

The Big Screen giants IMAX have showcased some of the most amazing VR experiences out there.

Los Angeles was the place where IMAX decided to show off their VR booths! This Booths enhanced the VR experience by removing all ambient sound, and providing 3d sound!

The crowds in Los Angeles payed $10 for just 7 minutes inside the booth, in it they would either play a VR game or watch a VR short film.

This marked an exciting new way to bring VR experiences for a cheap price. IMAX’s VR Arcade in Los Angeles (where the event took place) will be opening it’s doors later this year!

IMAX Jumps Into VR

No this does not mean IMAX will produce VR Headsets… IMAX’s CEO Richard Gelfond explained that he believes that given IMAX’s status on the market they have an indisputable advantage to join the VR Market.

That is as content producers of course. Simply put (as he actually did…) They saw no reason why IMAX should stand idle and see some other company become “the IMAX” of Virtual Reality.

As an entertainment and technology company, VR is at the heart of their business. IMAX is known for it’s high quality content (high resolution pictures).

The idea that such quality content could be brought into our Headsets is just amazing.

Huge Funds For VR

There are plenty of reasons to be excited about IMAX joining VR. IMAX’s CEO stated that the company had set up a 50 million dollar fund for VR entertainment development!

That indeed is a lot of money, and should bring a lot of awesome new content for us, also consider that IMAX has plenty of contact with film studios, film makers and that this particular project is a joint venture with Google!

IMAX’s CEO Talks About VR

For Richard Gelfond VR is an exciting new entertainment medium, but he also accepts something that we as fans of VR don’s want to accept.

VR is a developing tech and it can’t be a mainstream entertainment medium until it reaches certain standards. For the general public having awkward shaking hands on a game simulation is not acceptable for instance.

However he does believe that the timing is right for VR Hubs (like their VR Arcade that will be debuting this year). He says that VR will bring a lot of new experiences and that IMAX could help audiences accept the technology.

For example, imagine a new movie coming out…

If you see that it has amazing CGI or you are a fan (or both) you probably want to go to a theater and enjoy the “IMAX experience”. If it’s a regular film you might just watch it at home instead.

So in his example he said, imagine there is a new Star Wars coming out and you can go to a VR Hub to watch it. You get to fly on the Millenium Falcon and you might be so thrilled that you feel you need to buy a headset and do it again at home.

IMAX And The HTC Vive

At the moment IMAX is working with the HTC Vive platform and ASUS. AcerĀ is partnered on the Starbreeze (a Headset developed by a small company in Stockholm).

However IMAX’s CEO said that even though Oculus is not involved yet, that they are willing to speak to anyone.

Hopefully Oculus gets involved as well…

Image Credit Andrew E. Larsen

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