IMAX VR Is Dead Less Than Two Years After Being Launched

R.I.P., IMAX VR – we hardly knew ye.

A mere two years after IMAX announced they would be introducing VR, the company has decided to kill off IMAX VR. IMAX has already shuttered four of the seven IMAX VR centers they initially opened, and the remaining three will turn off the lights in 2019. Anyone following all-things-IMAX likely saw the writing on the wall regarding this. Earlier this year, IMAX announced they were canceling a project to develop a VR camera with Google.


What a difference a couple of years make. Back in 2016, IMAX thought they had seen the future, and the future was VR. "Prepare for a mind-shattering VR experience with insanely immersive visuals and 360 sound that will launch you and your friends into virtual worlds more realistic than anything you've ever imagined," the copy reads on the IMAX VR website. "Shoot, soar, save the day and play to win in a state-of-the-art IMAX VR Experience Centre. Welcome to the future. You're not ready, but you will be." In the end, no one was ready.

TechCrunch is reporting that IMAX announced, via an SEC filing, that it was shutting down its remaining IMAX VR centers:

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.

IMAX VR was first announced in 2016, along with plans to develop an IMAX VR camera with Google. In 2017, our own Peter Sciretta visited the IMAX VR Experience Center, where the technology was being treated by the company as the dawn of a new form of entertainment:

IMAX views their entry into the world of VR as an experiment, but hopes they will be helping to define a new category of entertainment experience. As such, there is a lot of education geared to customers who have never experienced virtual reality before, which helps to define the experience as a whole for newcomers.

Seven VR centers were opened across Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai, and Toronto, but almost immediately, it became clear the concept wasn't catching on. Earlier this year, the company closed the doors on one of its New York centers, and the center in Shanghai. IMAX CFO Patrick S. McClymont said at the time:

"Regarding our VR and home theater ventures, in order to continue to focus on reducing costs from new business, we expect to reach a decision on these initiatives during the next few months."

In August, word came that the IMAX VR camera project was shutting down as well. Other centers folded up shop, too. Now, the final nail in the IMAX VR coffin has been driven home. Variety confirms the three remaining IMAX VR centers in LA, Bangkok and Toronto will cease to exist come 2019. IMAX dreamed a dream. Now life has killed the dream.