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‘Headset-free’ community VR DomePlex planned for Arizona

'Headset-free' community VR DomePlex planned for Arizona

Immersive entertainment company Vortex plans to open a 2,500-seat dome multiplex (DomePlex) for ‘headset-free’ VR experiences.

Vortex Immersion Media, based in Los Angeles, aims to provide a new community VR (virtual reality) experience without headsets – using immersive environments, augmented reality, live streaming and cutting-edge visual effects.

The company has struck a deal with the Solanna Group to open a 360-degree dome multiplex in Phoenix, Arizona, that can seat up to 2,500 guests in its main theatre.

Vortex’s DomePlex will feature immersive multisensory experiences combined with dome-based video projection.

“We aim to be this generation’s Disney with this game-changing format,” said CEO Mark Laisure, in a statement. “We are gratified by our new partnership with The Solanna Group to revolutionize venue-based positive group social entertainment and take out-of-home live experiences to an entirely new fully-immersive and extended level for all ages.”

“The new kind of theme parks”

“Our goal is to really use the power of GPU supercomputers to create spectacular things for the dome that you would never experience at home on the headset,” said Vortex president and CTO Ed Lantz.

“It’s a game changer,” added Vortex CEO Mark Laisure.

Peter Csathy, chairman of the board, said: “I deeply believe that it’s the right time for this. This is the new kind of theme parks.”

Vortex has been organising events in 360-degree immersive domes for over ten years, and set up its first showcase dome in LA in 2010.

The company has built temporary structures for theatre events, brands and music events – including Childish Gambino’s recent Pharos dome concert series.

Set to open in 2020, the new structure will be Vortex’s first permanent dome for large audiences. The company plans to open a number of domes worldwide over the coming years by raising finance and working with strategic partners.

Content for the DomePlex can be changed quickly, and experiences live streamed. As more domes are added Vortex intends to connect them so that content and events can be live streamed around the network.

Domes and artainment

In January, a new 35,000 square foot art park called Wisdome opened in the Arts District in downtown Los Angeles.

Dubbed the world’s first fully immersive art park, the location includes five fully immersive, 360-degree domes fitted with 10.1 surround sound.

A shared VR experience combines the future of art, entertainment and technology.

The new attraction resembles other artainment experiences like Meow Wolf that have become popular visitor attractions.

Image: Aerial of Planned Vortex DomePlex

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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