As we’ve reported multiple times in the past few months, IMAX’s location-based pilot centers for its VR experiences were planned for launch this year. As you may have guessed, things haven’t quite worked out that way.
One of the first pilot tester centers, set to open in an Odeon cinemia in the UK city of Manchester, has been delayed from late 2016 into early 2017. That is according to a report from The Verge that cites an IMAX spokesperson. We’ve reached out to the company to verify the statement multiple times, but haven’t heard anything back thus far. A more specific date has not been given but we’ll be sure to update you.
These centers will be using Starbreeze’s StarVR headset, which began shipping earlier this year. Manufactured with the help of Acer, it features a 210 degree field of view, six degrees of positional tracking, and two 5.5 inch, showing 2560×1440 pixels per eye.
While they’ll initially be launching with experiences we’ve already seen on the device like Overkill’s The Walking Dead VR Experience, the plan is to eventually have content that ties in to current movie releases and offer movie-goers the chance to see both the movie and the VR experience or either one separated from the other. VR pieces will last between five to 15 minutes, making them more like companion pieces to full movies rather than sequels.
Other pilot centers are planned for Los Angeles and London among other cities.
You can still expect to see some significant content come to these centers, though; last month IMAX announced that it was spending $50 million to fund VR experiences, aiming to create 25 interactive VR pieces at first. This time next year we could hopefully see some VR tie-ins to major blockbusters being shot with IMAX’s own VR cameras, made with the help of Google.