VR film buffs are still trying to crack the code of blockbuster flicks, even now that the hype and cash have left.
Li Yaqin is buckled into an egg-shaped chair with a pair of clunky goggles strapped on his head. All of a sudden, the chair starts to spin and vibrate. He leans back and grasps the chair, letting out a yelp: “Oh, it’s happening.”
About 15 minutes later, he takes off the headset and wobbles away. “That was so cool, but it made me dizzy,” the 25-year-old Li said after watching a virtual reality (VR) rendition of Japanese anime “Ghost in the Shell.” “[It’s] cool — but I won’t watch it a second time.”
Li is one of four customers at the nine-seat VR theater X-Cube in the bustling Yaohan department store one Sunday night in July. Business is lackluster, but the VR entertainment center X-Cube doesn’t have the best location: It’s on the top floor at the back of the building, next to two karaoke booths and a row of massage chairs. Once in a while, curious shoppers check an LED kiosk advertising the available movies, prompting an eager attendant to emerge and try to bring them in for a 10-minute VR film.
Once inside the theater, moviegoers are greeted by blue neon lighting, a large red “X” branded on the wall, and spacecraft-like interior designs. For a price of 30 to 70 yuan ($4 to $10), moviegoers can temporarily retreat from reality and float in space, dive into the deep dark ocean — or even witness a spider viciously killing a ladybug.
But the promise of otherworldly experiences hasn’t been enough to fill China’s VR theaters. Learn more and read the full article here.
– This is original content by Sixth Tone and has been republished with permission.