June 12, 2017

Our guest VR Source contributor, Joshua Vergara, managed to check out the tricked out space over at the dedicated IMAX VR Centre in Los Angeles earlier this year, but the growing popularity of VR means that expansion is necessary. And that’s exactly what’s happening now, as IMAX’s VR experience is being rolled out to existing AMC Theatres. The first one opened up at AMC Kips Bay in New York City, which features a myriad of VR experiences that moviegoers can check out before and after watching their favorite flicks.

We got the chance to check out this brand new space, which is the first of many being rolled out to other AMC Theatres nationwide. At this particular location, the IMAX VR Centre features experiences leveraging the HTC Vive and Starbreeze’s Star VR headsets. Other additional gear are there to complement and make the experiences even more immersive, such as the Subpac that delivers unique haptic feedback. The layout is somewhat similar to the one we saw back in Los Angeles, as there are 12 futuristic pods contain the experiences.

The pods themselves are ingeniously designed to prevents users from tripping over wires that normally snake and clutter the playing area. Instead, the cables coming off the headsets are suspended by pulleys placed above the playing area – providing us with additional room to move around and flexibility with our movements. Frankly, these pods help to mitigate those annoying issues of having to remind ourselves of watching out for those pesky cables.

After checking out a couple of the experiences, like Knockout League, it made us realize that people are going to be working up a sweat with some of them. Luckily, the operators on deck ensure that the headsets, straps, controllers, and other accessories that we use in the experiences are adequately washed off. Better yet, the cushion lining the headsets aren’t the typical foamy ones we’re accustomed to seeing with consumer VR headsets, but rather, they have more of a leathery outer texture.

Most of the experiences featured in the space are existing content that are available, like Raw Data, The Walk, Knockout League, and much more. However, we got the chance to check out a brand new one – the Mummy Prodigium Strike, which coincides with the nationwide release of the film starring Tom Cruise. We don’t want to spoil all the details about it, since it deserves its own piece, but we have to admit that these experiences are great additions to AMC Theatres.

We’re told that experiences will run from 7 to 15 minutes long depending on what they are, with some of them featuring multi-users. In terms of pricing, it’s going to range from $10 to $15. This might seem like a lot, almost as much as a movie ticket on a weekend night at most places, but given how high-quality VR requires a hefty investment, these prices seem reasonable for the average person who doesn’t necessarily want to fork over hundreds of dollars to have it at home.

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