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IMAX is pulling out of the VR industry amid waning consumer interest

By Shawn Knight · 5 replies
Dec 14, 2018
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  1. In a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, movie company IMAX announced its exit from the virtual reality industry.

    Following a strategic review of its virtual reality pilot initiative, IMAX said it has decided to close its remaining VR arcade locations and write off certain VR content investments. According to Variety, the company recently closed four VR arcades but still operates locations in Los Angeles, Toronto and Bangkok. Those will but shut down in the first quarter of 2019, a company spokesperson said.

    IMAX managed to raise $50 million in 2016 to explore a possible expansion into the budding world of virtual reality. Much like the early days of video games, IMAX hoped the arcade model would expose consumers to the cutting-edge technology without the burden of having to buy expensive hardware.

    Unfortunately, interest around virtual reality as a whole has waned. Compelling solutions exist but consumers aren’t exactly breaking down doors to get them. Many see the current state of VR as a novelty – something that’s fun to try occasionally but not a gateway to the future that others hoped it might be.

    There’s a death knell off in the distance and it’s slowly getting louder.

    Permalink to story.

  2. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,209   +670

    They're making porn for VR; it is not going anywhere.

    All that happened here is IMAX realized that they are a movie company, not a video game arcade company.
    Evernessince likes this.
  3. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,546   +1,537

    I live in Toronto - and the VR “booth” at the ScotiaBank Theatre is in the location that used to be the “waiting area” that I used to sit and wait for my friends to meet me... when it first opened, I didn’t even realize what it was and just sat down and waited... someone came to me and asked if I had already paid - I said I had my movie ticket and was just waiting on a buddy. It was then that I was informed about the VR...

    I ended up just waiting - the place was completely deserted other than me and the one employee! Knew then that this VR booth was doomed. Don’t think I’ve ever seen more than one or two people using it at any time - and I go to a fair amount of movies - and it’s a busy theatre!
    JaredTheDragon likes this.
  4. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 4,002   +3,489

    Unless you are going to cite facts showing declining VR statistics, I'd recommend you put some qualifiers in this article as the title and last paragraph certainly forcast VR as dying without any proof. That's an opinion that is not properly mentioned as such.

    In my personal opinion, VR is insanely fun and I've never had a person say they didn't like it after demoing it to them on my system.
  5. loki1944

    loki1944 TS Addict Posts: 155   +92

    Coudn't agree more, very disappointing and limited in tterms of quality software. Specifically to games they are generally shallow/short/degraded (if shoehorned). Absolutely a novelty experience.
  6. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,209   +670

    Considering you can walk into nearly any electronics store and get the same experience for free (as a product demo), I don't think anyone really expected this business model to work.

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