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Words by Bryan Bishop

With headsets like the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR finally shipping out to customers, 2016 was supposed to be the year virtual reality finally went mainstream. But things haven’t exactly worked out that way, and in 2017, all eyes are now on location-based VR. Whether in movie theaters or custom arcades, VR installations are seen as an opportunity to will a functioning VR ecosystem into existence. Customers can try experiences in paid, bite-sized doses without investing in expensive hardware, and content creators can take advantage of that larger reach to monetize titles and encourage further development. One of the entities moving most aggressively in that direction is IMAX.

The company best known for bringing larger-than-large cinematic imagery into movie theaters soft-opened the IMAX VR Experience Centre in Los Angeles on January 6th. It’s the first of six pilot locations the company plans to roll out, with IMAX targeting China, the UK, New York City, and a second location in California by the end of the year. But each of those new installations will be tied to cineplex chains, setting up either in a revamped movie theater or in a venue’s lobby. The flagship LA center is a standalone location made up of 14 VR “pods” equipped with a combination of HTC Vive and StarVR headsets, and a selection of titles ranging from Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine to John Wick Chronicles. It’s not a perfect setup by any means, but for audiences that have never had the opportunity to try room-scale VR, IMAX may have created the best introductory experience yet.

Visit: http://imaxvr.imax.com/

( source: The Verge )

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