Virtual reality has not taken off like many predicted it would.
IMAX announced this week it is shuttering all of its VR centers across the globe by early 2019. After four consecutive quarters of declines, IDC says headset shipments grew by 8 percent in the third quarter of 2018 — not exactly stellar growth.
But that's not stopping VR start-ups from betting big on "location-based entertainment," in hopes of getting consumers to leave their homes to experience the technology in ways they can't from the comfort of their couch. VR research firm Greenlight Insights predicts the location-based market for virtual reality experiences will grow to $12 billion within the next five years.
Dreamscape Immersive -- backed by Hollywood's biggest players including IMAX, AMC, Fox and Warner Bros. -- is opening up its first permanent location this weekend in one of Los Angeles' biggest malls, with plans to open more venues in four other cities across the country.
For $20, customers get geared up with a backpack, headset, and hand and feet sensors — gear worth thousands of dollars, far out of reach for ordinary consumers. Customers can pick between one of Dreamscape's three immersive storylines that last about twenty minutes, for an experience that's been described as a cross between a movie and an amusement park.