IMAX and Odeon are bringing virtual reality to the cinema, announcing the launch of of their first 'VR Centre' in Manchester, UK, by the end of 2016.
Bringing virtual reality to the masses is one of the challenges of the format, especially with costly high-end hardware, but IMAX VR will let guests immerse themselves in VR movies and games by simply taking a trip to their local cinema.
Unfortunately that local cinema will be limited to Manchester's Printworks multiplex for now, but this is likely just the start of a bigger rollout if the pilot is a success.
To bring these experiences to life, IMAX is also teaming with Acer and Starbreeze AB to use their StarVR headset, which we tried earlier in the year. The centres will be made up of "pods" that can accommodate multiple guests, and can be adapted depending on the experience on offer.
Not much is being said on what those experiences might look like, but there's mention of games as well as video, with each lasting 5-15 minutes in length. IMAX says it is also in "advanced stages" of talks with Hollywood studios and gaming publishers, and plans to introduce "premium" content that will be shot using a cinema-grade virtual reality camera it's building in partnership with Google.
It will also be opening a similar centre in Los Angeles very soon, with plans for other theatres in China, Japan, the US, Western Europe and the Middle East in the coming months.
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