The world’s largest movie theater company, AMC, is investing in virtual reality. The company recently announced a partnership with the startup Dreamscape Immersive to bring VR experiences to North America and the U.K. As part of the agreement, AMC will be the lead investor in a $20 million series B financing round. It will commit $10 million in equity investment and will finance up to six Dreamscape Immersive VR centers within AMC cinemas and standalone locations in North America and the U.K. over the next 18 months.
These locations are in addition to Dreamscape Immersive’s flagship location, which is scheduled to open at the Westfield Century City Mall in Los Angeles during early 2018. In addition, AMC will invest $10 million in a content fund. This adds to $50 million content fund announced by IMAX, which already has the first VR Experiences on the market.
Dreamscape’s system utilizes motion-tracking technology developed by the Geneva, Switzerland-based foundation Artanim. The company’s work was shown off at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. It utilizes a head-mounted display, small sensors worn on the hands and feet, and a backpack computer along with a suite of motion-tracking cameras. The end result is a full-bodied digital avatar that the player can see within the VR environment. But more importantly, it’s a multi-person system, with Dreamscape’s eventual VR “theaters” able to accommodate between two and six people in a given experience.
Despite it not being the next frontier of entertainment some predicted it would be, VR has seen a wealth of investment and interest in the past few weeks. After striking a $1.1 billion deal with Google, HTC re-iterated their focus on VR and their Vive headset family, contradicting reports from a month earlier that it’d be dropping the peripheral. Instead, HTC decided to re-focus themselves onto becoming a content media giant that controls both the hardware and software aspects of content consumption. Don’t forget that Vive has not one, but two investment funds for VR: ViveX Accelerator and runs a massive $18 billion dollar VR Venture Capital Alliance.