2016 will be known as the year virtual reality (VR) made the leap from sci-fi fantasy to mainstream consumer product. While many tech industry pundits agree that VR is the future, there is no consensus on exactly how the consumer market will adopt VR. Whether VR is best suited for gaming, home theatre experiences, or communications, the first step towards winning over consumers is getting devices into the hands of the public, and AMC Theaters will be doing just that to promote the upcoming release of Assassin's Creed .
AMC Theaters is partnering with 20th Century Fox, AMD, and Alienware to set up a series of VR installations in participating theaters. Each theater will feature several kiosks running an Assassin's Creed movie VR experience on Oculus Rift hardware. The installations will run every day from either 2pm or 3pm until 9pm or 10pm. While this announcement is exciting news for VR enthusiasts, the installations will take place in just a handful of cities.
The list of participating theaters is as follows:
- Century City 15 - Los Angeles, CA
- Orange 30 - Orange, CA
- Lincoln Square 13 - NYC
- 34th Street 14 - NYC
- Barton Creek 14 - Austin, TX
- Metreon 16 - San Francisco, CA
The Assassin's Creed movie VR experience will make its debut tonight at The Game Awards before making itself available for free on Oculus video for the Rift and Samsung's Gear VR. Those without access to VR gear can also try out the Assassin's Creed experience on Facebook as a non-VR 360-degree video. The content itself was shot on-location during Assassin's Creed's production in Malta and at Practical Magic’s Burbank studio and offers the viewer a glimpse into the world of the Spanish Inquisition through the eyes of a member of The Assassin's secret society.
Right now, VR's biggest hurdle is the prohibitive cost of entry — a high-end headset and a PC powerful enough to operate the hardware can cost in the range of $2,000. On the positive side, the technology is finally reaching the level of quality VR pioneers and sci-fi writers envisioned decades ago. The Assassin's Creed film represents an overlap between video game players and sci-fi fans, which is also the ideal demographic to champion this fledgling industry. The fact that the film's story revolves around Michael Fassbender's character, Callum/Aguilar, exploring an artificially rendered world is just perfectly meta.
As exciting as VR can be, it's not for everybody, it can have several harsh physical effects. For some users, VR's 3D immersion creates the feeling of motion sickness. Long periods immersed in VR can also lead to headaches as well as eye strain. Many people also feel self-conscious wearing cumbersome VR goggles; you can cross them off the list for trying the kiosks out in busy public spaces. Factor in the Assassin's Creed experience kiosk's limited availability and AMC's intentions as a VR ambassador may just amount to an insignificant drop in VR's PR bucket.
The Assassin's Creed movie VR experience installations will run from December 02 until January 01, 2017.
- Assassin's Creed (2016) release date: Dec 21, 2016