Virtual reality — everybody's doing it, and hoping that everyone else will follow in their footsteps. To be precise, the majority of companies in the technology and entertainment fields are trying it out to see what sticks, and endeavouring to discover which interactive, immersive worlds consumers are keen to play in.
Add IMAX to the list of organisations moving into the VR space via a number of new initiatives designed to take your screen viewing to another dimension. Not content with their existing giant, high-resolution efforts, earlier in 2016 they announced that they're setting up virtual reality centres around the world, and partnering with Google to develop cinema-grade VR cameras. Now, they're financing at least 25 new interactive virtual reality content experiences.
For viewers, that not only means that you'll soon be able to head to a series of physical spaces dedicated to showing VR short films, but you'll also be able to see, feel, move and venture into more high-quality virtual reality offerings. The first IMAX virtual reality centres are due to launch in Los Angeles and Manchester by the end of the year, complete with pod-like viewing stations, with more planned in China, Japan, the Middle East, and Western Europe. As for the stuff you'll be feasting your eyes and ears upon, it'll focus on event-style productions made in conjunction with film studios, filmmakers and game publishers, will be developed over the next three years, and will be made available at IMAX as well as other VR platforms.
Like every other development in the virtual reality realm, such as concerts, venue tours, department stores, video calls and travel fly-overs, it's really a "watch this space" kind of deal as IMAX works out what works best, and audiences figure out what they actually want to do with the technology. If the first ventures are successful, they plan to roll out the concept globally, including at cinemas, shopping centres and tourist destinations. Fingers crossed that their Australian venues — including their rebuilt Sydney site, which is expected to open 2019 — are included.