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Vortex Immersion to Launch a 2,500-Seater Dome VR Multiplex for Headset-free Experiences

The LA-based immersive entertainment company Vortex Immersion Media desires to offer their customers a new option to experience virtual reality without the need of using those troublesome headsets. The company has made a deal to launch a 360-degree dome-shaped multiplex that can accommodate around 2,500 audiences in its base theatre in Phoenix, Arizona. Vortex has partnered with The Sollanna Group, an Arizona-based real estate developer, to build the domeplex; which is expected to open in 2020.

What the dome will feature is being described by Vortex executives as “community VR” – captivating multisensory experiences that people can enjoy together without wearing headsets. In an interview, Vortex CTO and president Ed Lantz said that their aim is to take advantage of GPU supercomputers to make breathtaking things for the domeplex, which people would never experience without a headset at home.

Mark Laisure, CEO of Vortex called it a game changer. According to him;

Virtual reality (VR) headset consumers are extremely aware of the material placed on their face, something that will not be necessary during a dome projection, which will allow people to be totally immersed.

Events in immersive 360-degree domes have been organised by Vortex for more than a decade now, but Ed Lantz said that his interest in mixing VR and dome-based projection has been there for some time. He became involved in VR in 1991 when VR headsets were not ready to become a consumer product.

Lantz said that he had vowed to bring VR and 360-degree projections together the very first time he witnessed the latter in a planetarium. He instantly understood the potential for utilising the tech for captivating, VR-like experiences.

In 2010, Vortex opened its 1st display dome in downtown LA and has been building temporary constructions for music events, brands and theatre events since then. One of the latest experiences of the company was the Pharos dome for Childish Gambino’s concert.

The freshly-declared domeplex construction in Arizona will be the 1st time that Vortex is going to operate a permanent dome for more audiences. If everything goes accordingly, there will be more such projects. This is the first time that the company is raising funds from outside; they plan on opening and operating more domes over the course of years. Broadband will be used to link every venue so that they are able to stream live events to several domes simultaneously.

Lantz said that Vortex plans to link home-based virtual reality systems with its dome venues. According to him, the metaverse is a portal into the dome and vice versa.

In November, Vortex brought Laisure as the new CEO in order to prepare for this expansion. This week, the organisation is ready to declare their new chairman of the board – veteran media executive Peter Csathy. In an interview, Csathy said that he believes this to be the right time and that this is the latest type of theme parks.

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