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AMC Theaters Buys Into VR With Dreamscape Immersive Deal

Multi-person interactive VR comes to select AMC locations across the United States and U.K. beginning next year.

Thanks to a new deal made by AMC theatres and LA-based virtual reality startup Dreamscape Immersive, six lucky AMC theaters spread across North America and Europe will soon be home to cooperative VR experiences that blend the line between games and film.

Backed by recognizable Hollywood names and companies such as director Steven Spielberg, producer Walter Parkes, composer Hans Zimmer, Kevin Wall, Warner Bros. and 21st Century Fox, Dreamscape Immersive utilizes a suite of motion capture technology and custom experiences to deliver immersive stories in room-scale VR. Much like other popular location-based VR arenas, such as The Void or IMAX VR, Dreamscape uses head-mounted displays combined with computer-mounted backpacks to allow for free roaming VR. However, where other VR centers seem to be focused on action-packed gaming often with gun-like peripherals, Dreamscape is focused more on a story-driven, cooperative experiences between two to six friends.

Small sensors strapped to user’s hands and feet create full-body digital avatars that are entirely interactive within VR. According to early previews of the Dreamscape experience, the latency is almost nonexistent, delivering a level of positional accuracy so high, players are actually able to throw physical objects to one another while in VR. In an attempt to keep the setup and breakdown time as simple as possible, each center will feature a 16 foot by 16 foot walkable empty space that can be equipped with various haptic feedback equipment depending on the specific experience being conducted. This includes everything from floors and fans simulating wind, to different scents and trackable props like a torch.

No specifics just yet on what content we can expect to see, but based on the massive support from some of Hollywood’s biggest players, as well as $20 million in support from AMC, you can bet on some pretty impressive tie-ins and original experiences. If you were excited to step into the shoes of a recognizable character to recreate a famous film/tv scene, you may be a little disappointed. According to Dreamscape CEO Bruce Vaughn, the company is committed to delivering experiences obtainable only in VR, as opposed to adapting conventional media.

“It’s something I learned at Disney: don’t try to put people in scenes of the movie as if they’re the actor,” said Vaughn in an interview with The Verge. “What you really want is the fantasy that this world actually exists, and I want to step into that world and have my own experience.”

Dreamscape’s flagship center opens in the Westfield Century City Mall in Los Angeles starting in 2018, followed by five other locations over the course of the next 18 months. Each center will either be located inside an AMC theatre or in an independent accompanying structure. So if you’re looking to high-five your buddies in VR while traversing a mystical dungeon before that screening of Avengers: Infinity War Part 2, you best head to your closest AMC theatre.

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