Amsterdam is now host to the world's first virtual reality "movie theater." Dutch creative firm Samhoud Media expects to open many more just like it later this year, in international locations like Berlin, Paris, and Madrid.
Rather than feature rows of stationary seats before a fixed screen, this virtual reality movie theater relies on swivel chairs and the screen mounted immediately in front of an audience member's eyes. If a conventional cinema is where everyone goes to have the shared experience of watching a narrative film together, this audience's members get to have unique, individualized experiences based on where they are focusing their attention in a VR scene.
Virtual reality is as pertinent a topic as it's ever been, with many large companies each making their own power plays within the space. Facebook owns Oculus Rift, virtual reality's Kickstarter darling company, which it purchased for $2 billion. Products like Google Cardboard and Samsung's Gear VR mean the technology necessitates owning little more than a smartphone in order to use it.
Until a virtual reality cinema lands in a town near you, your out-of-body experience at Amsterdam's VR Cinema will last 35 minutes and cost you about $14 USD. For those without access to virtual reality, perhaps it's a great way to take it for a spin to see if you like it enough to buy your own Oculus.