×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Imax Closes New York VR Center, Forecasts No New VR Investments for 2019

Imax continues to scale down its virtual reality (VR) ambitions: The company closed its New York-based VR Center in recent days, bringing the total number of such closures up to 3. Separately, executives promised investors on the company’s Q3 earnings call that they wouldn’t spend any additional money on such projects in 2019.

The closure of the Imax VR Center at AMC Kips Bay was confirmed by a spokesperson Friday morning, who sent Variety the following statement:

“With the launch of the IMAX VR pilot program our intention was to test a variety of different concepts and locations to determine which approaches work well. After a trial period with VR centres in multiplexes, we have decided to conclude the AMC Kips Bay 15 IMAX VR pilot run.”

The now-closed VR center was housed in the lobby of the AMC Kips Bay multiplex in New York. It consisted of 12 VR pods, which offered access to a variety of VR games and experiences.

When it was opened in June of 2017, Imax CEO Richard Gelfond painted it as the first step of a much more ambitious roll-out. “We are excited to kick off our multiplex strategy by launching our first pilot location within a multiplex with AMC,” he said at the time, hinting at plans to launch additional theater outposts.

Imax had plans to launch a total of 10 VR centers in multiple countries by the end of that year. “If successful, the intent is to roll out the concept globally to select multiplexes as well as commercial locations such as shopping centers and tourist destinations,” the company said in a press release at the time.

However, this year, Imax has been striking a decidedly different tone. The company closed a separate New York location in June, and shut down its Shanghai VR center in early July.  “The consumer reaction was extremely positive, but the numbers just weren’t there,”  Gelfond said during an earnings call earlier this year.

After the Kips Bay closure, Imax is operating just 4 remaining VR centers, and executives made it clear to investors this week that they had no plans to ramp up that number with additional investments. “We’re not looking for new business projects,” said Imax CFO Patrick McClymont during Thursday’s earnings call. “We’re keenly focused on the core business. And that will be approach for next year as well.”

Company executives also attributed cost savings to the company’s “continued scale-back” of VR and other new business initiatives. This also includes the shuttering of another VR-related project: A cooperation with Google to build a high-end camera for cinematic VR capture was cancelled late last year, as Variety was first to report in August.

More Digital

  • Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality

    Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality Nightmare

    At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, Google announced that it has taken up the long and ever-lengthening dream of the video game streaming service. Meant to replace the hefty, pricey, altogether confounding experience of buying and using various gaming hardware, Google Stadia will run video games on Google’s own hardware in a server [...]

  • crunchyroll logo

    Crunchyroll Raises Subscription Price to $7.99

    AT&T-owned anime subscription video service Crunchyroll is raising its monthly subscription price from $6.95 to $7.99 a month, it announced in an email to members Friday. It’s the service’s first price increase ever, according to a spokesperson. The new pricing will go into effect on May 1 for new subscribers, while existing members will see [...]

  • StyleHaul

    StyleHaul Shuts Down U.S. Operations, Lays Off About 65 Employees

    The axe is falling on StyleHaul: The fashion, beauty and lifestyle digital media and marketing company owned by RTL Group is shuttering U.S. operations, resulting the layoff of around 65 employees. StyleHaul offices in L.A., with about 55 employees, and in New York City, with around 10 staffers, are closing. RTL said StyleHaul’s U.K. operations, [...]

  • Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown, a leading platform for letting music fans know about upcoming concerts by their favorite artists, has acquired Hypebot, a news site publishing stories about the music industry and technology, and its sister site MusicThinkTank. “I’m proud to share that Hypebot and MusicThinkTank have been acquired by Bandsintown,” wrote Bruce Houghton, the founder of the [...]

  • Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’

    Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’ Is Future of VR

    As virtual reality becomes more and more available, many developers are looking for new frontiers to expand the experiences offered by the tech. For Netherlands-based Vertigo Games, that next frontier is what they call “location-based virtual reality.” It’s essentially high-quality VR experiences where players aren’t tethered to a PC or even to the confines of [...]

  • GDC 2019: Google's Play For Gaming

    GDC 2019: Google's Play for Gaming Ubiquity, Rise of Ray Tracing, Store Wars

    The Game Developers Conference finished up Friday evening, wrapping one of the most exciting GDCs in recent memory with Google’s splashy entrance into AAA video gaming, the emergence of real-time ray tracing as a compelling technology for film, TV, and games, and the growing war between two global estore powerhouses: Valve’s Steam and the Epic [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content