It looks like the world of virtual reality is already gearing up to branch out into areas other than gaming, with IMAX today announcing that it plans to offer VR experiences in theaters across the country.
When folks think about virtual reality, the image that likely pops into their head is one that involves playing video games. Thanks to devices like the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive and Sony’s PlayStation VR, that’s exactly what the market seems to be leaning toward, too. But anyone who has used a modern VR headset knows that there are uses outside of gaming that make perfect sense for the devices. Whether you’re using a virtual desktop or watching Youtube clips while kicking back on a couch on the moon, the imagination of entertainment providers is literally the limit when it comes to the uses of modern VR headsets.
IMAX has figured that fact out nice and early and has recently revealed big plans to incorporate VR in new and interesting ways.
IMAX is promising “immersive, multi-dimensional experiences” utilizing VR headsets that will range from special games, to events hosted out of multiplexes, malls and the like. This news comes hot on the heels of the announcement that IMAX is partnering with Google to build a VR camera, which will be utilized for the creation of these new virtual reality experiences.
As for the headset hardware, IMAX is partnering with Starbreeze, a Swedish creator who recently introduced their own StarVR headset that provides 210 degrees of full peripheral view. According to the announcement, that’s double the view of any other headset currently available.
The plan is to launch up to six IMAX VR sites this year in both US and international markets in order to serve as testing grounds for the market. We’re guessing that IMAX will partner with more developers to create unique gaming experiences for the rigs, as it wouldn’t make much sense to offer games like EVE: Valkyrie or The London Heist, which can be played from home on standard VR headsets. But now that’s got us thinking: What will IMAX cook up to make experiencing VR outside of the home worth the cost and effort? Then again, maybe they’ll be specifically targeting folks who would not likely own a VR rig of their own.
So what are your thoughts on all of this, readers? What type of VR experience do you think IMAX will make available that can’t be recreated at home? Would you even want to play VR games in public, with all those folks watching you flail about like a crazy person? Let us know in the comments below.