Back in 2016, Google and IMAX announced that the two companies would be embarking on a joint venture to build a virtual reality (VR) camera. Now it seems that this will no longer be happening as the project has quietly be canceled following months of work and a pilot program that was launched back in early 2017.
The news comes from Variety who reported that the project had be canceled after receiving an email from a IMAX spokesperson. They also reached out to Google for a comment but a spokesperson declined to comment on the partnership and the status of the headset. “We’ve currently paused the development of the Imax VR camera while we continue to review the viability of our pilot program,” IMAX said in their email to Variety.
The pilot program that was launched back in 2017 saw IMAX opening a number of different VR centers within several locations around the world. Recently two of those canters were closed, and plans to decide the future of those that remain will be sorted in the coming months.
The actual decision to stop the development of the VR camera though apparently came from Google, a source told Variety. Google reported canned the project late last year as part of a shift to focus on augmented reality (AR) rather then VR, the source claims. This may or may not be the case but given Google’s continued work on their ARCore it could very well be true.
The VR headset that the two companies were working on was designed to offer cinema-grade quality within a compact VR headset which would allow filmmakers and content creators a means to deliver the highest-quality 3D 360-degree experiences to their audience across the world. Of course, now that the project has been canned it is unclear what will happen to the work that was already put into the project or the fate of the remaining IMAX pilot centers.
Recently IMAX has been working with the likes of Nickelodeon to offer unique VR experiences but there has been no word on any work related to VR headsets. VRFocus will be sure to bring you all the latest from both Google and IMAX in the future, so stay tuned for more.