It’s a market replete with new vying entrants, but ImmotionVR aims to corner the UK’s growing market for destination VR by providing a hybrid of in-house content paired with reactive motion technology.
UK-based virtual reality experience supplier ImmotionVR has been given the green-light to expand throughout the intu shopping centre portfolio, following positive performance at intu St Davids in Cardiff.
A joint announcement from the entertainment provider and the retail group tipped intu sites at Uxbridge, Newcastle and Derby as the follow-up locations for Immotion reality centres.
This will bring the total number of Immotion’s self-owned franchise outlets to seven – excluding locations already operated by its concession customers.
“Virtual reality has such exciting potential within our portfolio…it could one day become as commonplace as stopping for a coffee with friends,” said intu customer experience director Robert Binks – who dubbed the Immotion offering“ compelling.”
Meanwhile, Immotion Group CEO Martin Higginson said:“We look forward to bringing more high-qualityVR experience centres to more consumers across the UK, many of whom are tryingVR for the first time.”
In addition to creating its own in-house games, Immotion manufactures and operates interactive VR “pods,” which simulate the motion portrayed on unit’s VR headset. Users are able to select their chosen experience via a touch-screen terminal, which in turn is linked to the company’s in-house server – permitting operators to load new trending or seasonal content to the device.
Founded in 2016, the company markets individual pod units for around £15,000. Whilst the hefty asking price might make some operators grimace, Immotion claims that at five pounds a play, it’s an investment that could be recouped within 60 to 90 days – depending on footfall.
“What we’re producing is really high-end CGI graphics mixed with motion, which is some- thing you cannot get on the high street today,and certainly not at home,” Higginson explained to investors earlier this year. “We’ve blended this together at a price-point which is very affordable to the mass-market.”
Nevertheless, it has spent its first operational year demonstrating this market-appeal by running its own franchise operations throughout the country.
An early partnership with Merlin Entertainment has also seen pods installed at Legoland in Boston, Massachusetts – marking the company’s first overseas venture.
And indeed, the supplier’s range of content includes amusement and leisure complements,such as roller-coaster rides and ghost-trains.
As of this summer, Immotion had a network of around 130 stations worldwide – but the company plans to expand this figure to over 1,000 by the end of next year.