The dream of getting VR screens closer to your face has taken a hit. IMAX, the company behind the biggest screens, has decided to give up on its VR business. In an SEC filing, the company notified its shareholders that it will close down its remaining three VR centers. IMAX also confirmed that it will also write-off certain VR content investments as well.
The news was also confirmed by a company spokesperson to Variety. In a statement, the spokesperson said that the company wanted to test different concepts with its IMAX VR center program. The trial of the VR centers in multiplexes did not go as planned by the company. And thus IMAX decided to quit all its efforts and close down its 3 locations in Q12019.
Currently, IMAX is operating three VR centers in Bangkok, Toronto, and Los Angeles which is also its flagship location. The company had already closed four out its seven VR centers with the latest one being the Manchester VR center. The original program of the company was to set up around a dozen VR centers all over the world if the trial is successful.
IMAX also started a $50 million VR content fund and roped in Raine Group and China Media Capital to co-produce VR content. However, the idea of the company did not work as IMAX realized that VR centers won’t be making money anytime soon. Rather than further investing in the program the company decided to write-off its VR business and continue its focus on the core business of multiplex screens.
The news comes as a big shock for a lot of VR startups that were banking on IMAX for its success in the VR division. No one would have thought that rather than pulling back its effort, the company will go on to quit the VR program. Earlier this year, IMAX also paused its VR camera project that it was developing with Google.