In an announcement today IMAX Corporation has revealed an agreement with ODEON & UCI Cinemas Group to build the first IMAX VR centre in Europe, located at the Printworks multiplex in Manchester, UK.
When open the centre will be able to offer visitors immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences with a broad range of content, from general entertainment to videogames.
IMAX is working with Acer and Starbreeze AB to incorporate the latest head-mounted display (HMD) technology with the StarVR device. The centre will provide a continual array of new, interactive content experiences that should range between 5 and 15 minutes in length each. The company employ a new modular design – proprietary to IMAX – that will consist of several “pods” to allow multiple players to enjoy interactive, exciting, moveable VR experiences. The pods, which are designed to optimize user mobility and interaction in virtual environments, can be adapted for specific content experiences – whether single or multi-user.
“For nearly 50 years, IMAX’s mission has been to give audiences – of all ages and across generations – a reason to get off their couches and leave the comfort of home to go out to the cinema. Today’s agreement with ODEON marks an important milestone in our continued effort to deliver differentiated entertainment experiences – now through location-based VR,” said IMAX Corp. CEO Richard L. Gelfond. “We are extremely pleased with the significant progress we’ve made on this initiative in this short period of time and believe this commitment from such a significant European exhibitor is a testament to the interest and potential of this offering. ODEON is a longtime partner that shares our vision in delivering guests the ultimate in premium experiences and we look forward to ushering in the next evolution of immersive entertainment with this test centre.”
“We’re always looking for new ways to give our guests an even more immersive experience, so are very excited to be hosting Europe’s first IMAX VR centre at ODEON Printworks” said Paul Donovan, CEO of ODEON & UCI Cinemas Group. “We have a longstanding close relationship with IMAX which creates unforgettable experiences in many of our cinemas across Europe, so we are delighted to be alongside them again, at the cutting edge of innovation, to introduce and pilot awesome new technology which will delight our guests.”
IMAX is in the advanced stages with several content developers, including Hollywood studios and videogame publishers, to produce and distribute high-quality VR experiences to its centres.
IMAX VR is scheduled to open towards the end of 2016, and as VRFocus learns more about the project, we’ll let you know.