Hey everyone! Today I read that America’s biggest movie theater chain, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., is putting $20 million behind a Hollywood virtual reality startup and plans to begin installing its technology at cinemas starting next year. That startup, namely, Dreamscape Immersive is said to be backed by Steven Spielberg and offering experiences allowing six people to participate at the same time.
As a Southern California native, I’m excited that… “‘[i]ts first location will be at a Los Angeles mall run by Westfield Corp., [who is] a series A investor. It is expected to launch there in the winter of 2018’ said Dreamscape’s CEO, Bruce Vaughn”.
Not only will experiences that build on traditional movie-going be available. For example, think of John Wick Chronicles which was an immersive FPS allowing people to play as John Wick and travel into the world of hired guns leading up to John Wick 2 earlier this year. But, the WSJ article says that you can expect to be able to attend, for instance, sporting events virtually with Dreamscape Immersive. An interesting appeal, given that we don’t really associate a trip to the theaters with sports fan viewing experiences.
I’m curious to see how these Dreamscape Immersive locations will be outfitted. Some might find a useful comparison to be The Void – Ghostbusters Dimensions which brings the cinematic experience to life at Madame Tussauds in New York for you and three others. Their experience highlighted dynamism and complete immersion where you walk around an expansive physical space by leveraging custom hardware.
The article goes on to say that, “the VR locations may be in theater lobbies or auditoriums or locations adjacent to cinemas”. Last year in September we saw Emax, for example, a Shenzhen-based startup execute the adjacent layout. The open layout was nice, in my humble opinion, while there are charms to giving folks privacy a la VR booths one might find at large conferences. Perhaps because it shows how much fun people in the virtual experience are having and gives onlooking friends the chance to share their reactions.
On that topic, creative VR applications like Tiltbrush and Mindshow yield some kind of shareable content innately. In the former, when you’re finished with your painting you can export the work of art as a model, scene, or perhaps just the creation video and view it later online. In the latter, you are essentially creating a show for others to watch.
But if the experience is a bit more passive, as in watching a sporting event… are there ways to share that which you experienced with others? Definitely. Via green screen infrastructure and video content. The la-based company, LIV, has been striving towards productization of the infrastructure needed to seamlessly capture guests in a better way. Succinctly put, LIV “think[s] VR is amazing to be inside, but rather underwhelming to spectate….” Perhaps Dreamscape Immersive will leverage similar infrastructure to expand the digital footprint of these location-based experiences.
What do you think are the most salient points about this announcement?