The company behind the biggest screens in cinema is giving up on bringing VR screens within a few inches of users’ faces. The company announced today in an SEC filing that it will be shutting down its three remaining virtual reality centers, including its flagship location in Los Angeles.
Via the filing:
In connection with the Company’s previously-announced strategic review of its virtual reality pilot initiative, the Company has decided to close its remaining VR locations and write-off certain VR content investments.
The locations in LA, Bangkok and Toronto will be shuttered in Q1 of 2019 according to Variety.
After making a lot of noise about the centers at launch, the company seemed to realize pretty quickly that the economics just weren’t there. Previous to today’s announcement, IMAX had already shut down 4 of the 7 VR centers that had been opened.
A lot of virtual reality startups that were counting on the pipe dream resurgence of the American arcade scene are probably sweating a bit after today’s news. It was clear that IMAX’s efforts hadn’t been a raving success, but there’s a big difference between dialing it back and shutting it down.
Earlier this year, IMAX confirmed that it had paused work on a VR camera project it was developing with Google.