Imax announced a partnership with Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group to bring Virtual Reality (VR) content to multiplexes globally in London on Tuesday. The first pilot Imax VR center will come up at the Printworks multiplex in Manchester, England. The company aims to open the center by 2016-end and provide multi-dimensional VR experiences to consumers, including entertainment content and games.
"Today’s agreement with ODEON marks an important milestone in our continued effort to deliver differentiated entertainment experiences – now through location-based VR," Imax Corp. CEO Richard L. Gelfond said in the statement.
Imax plans to employ its proprietary design consisting of several “pods,” which would allow multiple players to enjoy interactive and moveable VR experiences. The pods will provide users with mobility and interaction in virtual environments. The content will be adaptable both multi-player and single-user specific experiences.
The VR content would be streamed through Acer and Starbreeze AB headsets, offering a high-resolution extra-wide field of view — 210 degrees compared to 110 degrees on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The content will be made by gaming and movie studios in the form of 5-15 minute clips. Tickets are expected to cost around $9.81-12.31, according to Variety.
Los Angeles will also have an Imax VR center as part of the pilot scheme, followed by cities in China, Japan, the U.S., the Middle East and Western Europe in coming months. VR centers will be used as a testing ground for customer experience, pricing models and types of content featured.
Variety reported that the initial testing phase at these sites would last around six months. Imax eventually aims to produce content using a studio-caliber VR camera that it is developing with Google, the report added.
If Imax VR is successful, the experience would be rolled out to select multiplexes globally, along with commercial locations, including shopping centers and tourist destinations.