IMAX to install Europe’s first virtual reality centre in Manchester


Manchester will host the first pilot IMAX virtual reality (VR) centre in Europe, IMAX Corporate announced today.

The centre, which is set to open by the end of 2016 at Odeon Manchester Printworks, will offer guests ‘immersive, multi-dimensional VR experiences’, including entertainment content and games.

The IMAX VR Experience features a unique combination of premium technology that lets users see, feel, move and play in new worlds.

IMAX is working with Acer and Starbreeze AB to incorporate next-generation headset-mounted display (HMD) technology that offers industry-leading resolution and an extra-wide peripheral field of view.

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The company, which has more than 1,000 theatres in 69 countries, will provide the centre an ongoing array of new interactive content experiences that are expected to range between five and 15 minutes in length.

It is also in ‘advanced stages’ with several content developers, including Hollywood studios and gaming publishers, to produce and distribute high-quality VR experiences to its centres.

The VR centre is the beginning of a plan that IMAX hopes will allow it to deliver the next generation of movies, which will be filmed using the cinema-grade VR camera it is developing in partnership with Google.

‘Today’s agreement with Odeon marks an important milestone in our continued effort to deliver differentiated entertainment experiences – now through location-based VR,’ said Richard L. Gelfond, CEO at IMAX Corporation. ‘We believe this commitment from such a significant European exhibitor is a testament to the interest and potential of this offering.’

Paul Donovan, CEO of Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group, added, ‘We’re always looking for new ways to give our guests an even more immersive experience, so are very excited to be hosting Europe’s first IMAX VR centre at Odeon Printworks.’

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The VR centre will employ a new modular design that will consist of several pods, which are designed to optimise user mobility and interaction in virtual environments and can be adapted for specific content experiences – whether single or multi-user.

IMAX is currently in the process of launching its first showroom and pilot VR centre in Los Angeles and is targeting to open additional test facilities in China, Japan, the U.S., the Middle East and Western Europe in the coming months.

The company plans to use these pilot locations to test several factors including the overall customer experience, pricing models and the types of content featured. If successful, its intent is to roll out the concept globally to select multiplexes, as well as commercial locations such as shopping centres and tourist destinations.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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