Spielberg & Warner Bros Bet on Dreamscape VR
IMAX may be shutting down its VR arcade business, but a new underdog in onsite full-room VR is working its way into the news. Dreamscape Immersive just opened its first permanent location in the Westfield Century City mall in Los Angeles—the same mall where it ran its Alien Zoo experience at a pop-up storefront.
Film and content companies are already backing Dreamscape in a BIG way, with IMAX, AMC, 21st Century Fox, and Warner Bros joining the Series B funding that raked in $30M. Even Steven Spielberg purchased shares of Dreamscape.
Dreamscape hopes to succeed where IMAX failed by providing more of a narrative-driven experience than the current arcade-style experiences which IMAX has had trouble fully monetizing. And with that strategy, the company hopes to capture a larger audience than the gaming niche of VR.
Here is what Deadline’s editors had to say about the experience:
“A new virtual experience in Century City does for alien creatures what Jurassic Park did for dinosaurs - brings them so close you’re dwarfed and awed by their presence.”
Walter Parkes, co-founder of Dreamscape and producer of over 50 titles, including Men In Black, Gladiator, Sweeney Todd, and many more, believes that this type of experience offers much more than the 360-degree video that we currently have for VR entertainment. In this experience, you are part of it—”the main character in the Dreamscape experience is the audience.”
Parkes likes to describe this experience as “happening in the intersection of theme park rides and movies.”
This concept definitely has the social aspect going for it. You could be in a group of about 6 people who go enjoy this immersive experience together, be it family, friends, or coworkers. This concept sounds similar to today’s escape rooms, which have become a countrywide hit.
And this social aspect of the experience also leads to repeatability. You can experience the same narrative multiple times with different people who will make it unique. And you can even focus on a different piece of the show each time—since you cannot physically see everything going on in one pass.
Dreamscape Immersive is making an interesting VR play because its popularity does not require customers to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on equipment. Without the obstacle of a price barrier, it has the ability to bring virtual experiences into the mainstream, increasing the need for VR content. And thus contributing to the feedback loop that VR needs to really break out.
Dreamscape plans on opening four more locations in major cities through 2019. Where other onsite VR experiences are shutting down, Dreamscape is accelerating.
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