In the past few weeks, IMAX has revealed multiple layouts in VR field. Around mid-October, IMAX announced its partnership with the largest European chained cinema. They will set up an IMAX VR experience center in Manchester before year end and users can play games, watch movies and experience VR interaction in this center. Around mid-November, IMAX announced a 50million USD investment fund they set up with several other companies and it will be mainly used for the promotion of VR technology in IMAX movies and games.
As the world’s most renowned super-size motion picture developer, IMAX’s trial in VR field cannot went unnoticed. Which IMAX technique will be adopted in VR? What’s IMAX’s opinion regarding VR movie? What’s IMAX’s next step in Chinese market? Recently, Tencent Technology has an interview with IMAX’s Chief BD Officer Robert D. Lister and he interpreted their VR strategies in details.
VR Experience Center: focus on differentiation
China market is a must. Early in May, IMAX has announced its VR experience store plan: before the end of this year, they will open 6 VR cinemas in shopping malls and tourist destinations around the world. The first VR cinema will be located in Los Angelas, and later expand to other countries.
According to their plan, after Los Angelas, IMAX China will have its own VR layout as well. Per Robert D. Lister’s description, key points of China market will be as follows:
1. Openned at least 2 or 3 IMAX VR experience centers in China to test the water
2. Provide differentiated service for Chinese costumers mostly in terms of content
3. Among the 50million USD IMAX VR Content Fund, at least 15million will be specifically used in China
Robert D. Lister also claimed that for now, costumers are not ready for a 2-hour VR movie yet. It is not the kind of experience they want and the technologies are not ready as well. The IMAX VR experience will mainly be 10-15 minutes long, can be film, interactive experience or games. “We can find a non IMAX hall in a multi-hall cinema or even just a public area and set up the VR experience tank. And customers can experience all kinds of different contents there, these contents will all be short and highly interactive.”
GOME is one of the biggest digital products and domestic appliances chain store in China, like the Chinese version of BestBuy.
Early in April 2016, GOME has already teamed with HTC Vive to set up specialized experience area in every GOME store in China. Now, GOME partnered with Dutch company Samhoud Media to build the VR cinema.
Through cooporating with the world’s biggest VR content producer, GOME will set up China’s first professional VR Cinema in Beijing before the end of this year. It covers 200 square meter area and can host 60 audience at the same time. The movie content import will not be restricted by the region, and Samhoud Media will work with GOME’s partner to support that.
According to the public data, Samhoud Media has launched the world’s first VR cinema in Amsterdam, Netherland at the beginning of this year. This VR cinema utilizes Samsung Gear VR, Galaxy S6 mobile phone and additional headset from Sennheiser HD 201. The fixed seats were updated to 360 degree swivel chair.