VR arcades are popping up everywhere — in malls, at our local storefronts, and are now making their way to Cineplex movie theaters! The Hollywood Reporter reports that Cineplex, one of the largest companies responsible for movie theatres in Canada has partnered with Seattle-born VRstudios to bring 40 arcades with VR technology to the Great White North. The companies will also bring their virtual reality entertainment attractions to theaters across the United States and around the world.
All-In-One VR Arcades and Attractions
Cineplex and VRstudios will work together to install 40 turnkey VR arcades at movie theaters and location-based businesses. The all-in-one virtual reality setups will make their way to the public by the year 2021. That’s 3 years away and is more than enough time to create quality content that will immerse visitors in new worlds with leading edge technologies.
Will the customizable VR arcades and attractions get the haptic treatment or smell-o-vision? These fun features are speculations, yet they are real concepts being developed within the industry. What we do know is that VRstudios is known for their untethered VR attractions that allow multiple visitors to walk freely and interact inside of room-scale and warehouse-sized experiences, all while being unrestricted by cords.
Imagine putting on a wireless headset and experiencing an entertainment attraction, game or simulation based on a freshly released or highly anticipated film. Or, think of what it will feel like to play a round of VR with family and friends while waiting for a movie to start or after a movie lets out. What a movie night!
The First Attempt at a VR Experience – The Sensorama. In the 1950s, a cinematographer by the name of Morton Heilig came up with a unique concept he later developed, known as the Sensorama. Featuring an arcade-style theater cabinet, the sensorama was aimed at stimulating a person’s senses. It featured a stereoscopic 3D display, fans and smell generators, stereo speakers, as well as a vibrating chair. The idea of the Sensorama was to fully immerse a person into a film-like experience. Heilig also went on to create as much as six short movies for his device.
VRstudios and Cineplex, and Partners
VRstudios has “the largest global installation footprint today” and “provides virtual reality solutions to popular entertainment destinations including theme parks, arcades, amusement parks, family entertainment centres, casinos and movie theatre complexes” in over 120 attractions and in 15 countries, their press release states.
Cineplex, the ambitious movie theater powerhouse, has already started rolling up their sleeves. They’ve “installed a VRstudios attraction at The Rec Room in South Edmonton, Alberta, and plans to open approximately 30-40 additional locations across its theatre and LBE networks in Canada by the end of 2021.”
The company will also be working with P1AG, or Player One Amusement Group , to “manage the sale, support integration and maintenance of VRstudios’ portfolio of systems in North America.”
Why Out-Of-Home Entertainment?
Some people view virtual reality as an isolating experience, but it is anything but when those same people try out a multiplayer game with a friend or family member who’s invested in VR. Once the mic is on and a game starts, there’s lots of talking back and forth, and it quickly begins to feel like a more interactive gaming session played with friends.
To your great surprise, the concept of Head Mounted Display is also not a new idea. The first head-mounted display was developed around 1960’s. the Telesphere mask was the first example of a head-mounted display, which provided 3D stereoscopic and wide vision with sound.
Adventurous and curious visitors without a headset like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or Vive Pro, are going to be visiting movie theaters, location-based businesses, and local arcades with VR. Once a VR attraction comes a theater near you, visitors will get to explore and interact with immersive virtual worlds, but also get to play with quality gear. A major benefit for the virtual reality industry as a whole is that by trying before buying, Cineplex could help create a larger pool of VR adopters in the years to come.