San Francisco-based virtual reality startup Bigscreen has teamed up with Paramount Pictures to bring the theater experience to VR headsets: Bigscreen will begin showing classic Paramount movies like Interstellar and Star Trek in a virtual movie theater, where users can watch the films together with friends.
Much like a traditional theater, Bigscreen won’t overwhelm users with on-demand choices. Instead, the company will show only 4 movies every week, with showings starting every 30 minutes. Viewers can personalize their avatars, hang out in the lobby together, and even voice chat with each other.
According to Variety, movies will cost US$4-5 each.
Now, one issue that comes up with this new service is that most VR headsets can become uncomfortable to wear for the two hours (or longer) it takes to watch an entire movie. I have gradually built up my own tolerance for VR headsets and I can wear them for over two hours, but many newcomers to VR will find sitting through a whole film intolerable. The Oculus Quest headset in particular is a bit front-heavy, I find, which also affects how long you can wear it comfortably.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the Bigscreen-Paramount partnership is a good idea, but it might take until the second generation of VR hardware arrives for it to fully bear fruit.