In a blow to digital out-of-home entertainment (DOE) for the virtual reality (VR) industry, it has been revealed that IMAX Entertainment will now be closing its VR programme, and with it the rest of its VR centres.
This isn’t too shocking a surprise as the company has been slowly shuttering several of its centres over the last few months. IMAX began its location-based VR adventure in 2016 with the completion of a $50 million USD VR fund with several others investors, aiming to open several centres around the world featuring the latest immersive technology.
This was just a pilot programme and it first started to show signs of trouble with the closure of one of its New York locations in June, followed by its Shanghai, China facility soon after. Then in October the other New York location closed, and last month saw IMAX VR in Manchester, UK, close its doors.
Spotted by Variety, IMAX filed a report with the SEC noting its intention to end the programme: “In connection with the Company’s previously announced strategic review of its virtual reality pilot initiative, the Company has decided to close its remaining VR locations and write-off certain VR content investments.”
“With the launch of the IMAX VR centre pilot program our intention was to test a variety of different concepts and locations to determine which approaches work well. After a trial period with VR centres in multiplexes, we have decided to conclude the IMAX VR centre pilot program and close the remaining three locations in Q1 2019,” an IMAX spokesperson told Variety.
These final locations are in Bangkok, Los Angeles and Toronto. This continues IMAX’s VR woes as the company also halted development of a VR camera in conjunction with Google. Should things get better (or worse), VRFocus will bring you the latest announcements and updates.