IMAX to Shutter VR Experience Centers

(Image credit: IMAX)

IMAX is getting out of VR. The company just announced its retreat from virtual reality in a December 13 disclosure to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In this document, the company reported that it will not be making further investments into their VR venture, will shut down their three remaining virtual reality arcades in early 2019 and also “write-off certain VR content investments” in a move to completely drop their VR project. This blow to IMAX’s foray into VR entertainment could be a signal that consumers are losing interest in virtual reality. The three locations were in Los Angeles, Toronto and Bangkok.

IMAX took the plunge into virtual reality in 2016 after a successful $50 million investment round. Their plan was to open VR centers that drew crowds looking for affordable ways to experience the new tech.

VR headsets are increasingly available and seemingly growing cheaper by the day. The market for virtual reality entertainment is predicted to reach $33 billion by 2022, according to some analysts, but the new IMAX announcement suggests a disconnect between business forecasts and actual consumer outlook.

Recently, reports surfaced that Acer and Starbreeze’s StarVR would be shut down or sold. Those headsets were part of the IMAX experience, which further shows the struggles with VR in location-based centers.