IMAX Corporation and IMAX China Holding Inc. announced that the first phase of the IMAX VR Content Fund is complete. The two companies, along with several investment partners, put $50 million aside to fund the development of VR content.
IMAX and its partners are seeking “premium, event-style productions,” and they're willing to fund the production. The IMAX VR Content Fund is meant to help foster the creation of “higher-quality VR content that can be leveraged across the burgeoning VR industry.”
IMAX said that the VR Content Fund would finance at least 25 VR experiences over the next three years. IMAX expects to leverage the experiences that the fund finances to use in its IMAX VR centers in the future, but the money is available to finance content for all VR platforms.
"IMAX has built its legacy on using innovation and creative collaboration to drive the further adoption of new technologies. Today, we are expanding upon that legacy by teaming up with leaders across the media, entertainment and technology space to unlock a new level of premium, high-quality content for use throughout the VR ecosystem," said IMAX Corp. CEO Richard L. Gelfond. "We will be leveraging our collective relationships with world-class filmmakers and content creators to fund VR experiences that excite and attract a larger user base to capitalize on opportunities across all VR platforms including IMAX VR."
IMAX had help from a variety of investment partners, including China Media Capital, Creative Artists Agency, Enlight Media, The Raine Group, Studio City, and WPP. Acer, which manufactures the Starbreeze StarVR VR HMDs that IMAX is installing into its VR centers, is also a major investor. The tech giant pitched in $10 million of the $50 million fund to help foster the development of high-quality VR experiences.
"Acer is excited to join forces with IMAX and other world-class investors to help foster top shelf content for the thriving VR industry," said Jason Chen, Corporate President & CEO, Acer Inc. "With this strategic investment and our deep collaboration with partners including Starbreeze in the hardware and entertainment sector, we hope to enable engaging and immersive VR experiences in IMAX VR centers and beyond."
Acer’s motives for investing in the fund are twofold. The company directly benefits from the creation of quality content for the StarVR HMD, but it is also preparing to enter the consumer market with an affordable VR HMD. Acer is one of five Microsoft partners that will begin selling affordable $300 VR HMDs in the spring.
IMAX did not reveal how developers can apply for funding, but it alluded to the funds already being earmarked for specific projects. The company said it is in “advanced discussions” with multiple content developers.