Google and Imax cancel VR camera partnership

Avatar By Le Williams | 1 year ago

Google and Imax have ended its initiative to build a virtual reality (VR) camera in a previous partnership. A joint camera project that the two companies embarked on in 2016 has quietly been canceled, according to Gizmodo.

A Google spokesperson declined to comment on the partnership, but an Imax spokesperson acknowledged that work on the project has stopped, sending technology reporters the following statement via email.

“We’ve currently paused the development of the Imax VR camera while we continue to review the viability of our pilot program,” they said.

Imax launched a pilot program for location-based VR in early 2017, opening seven VR centers in big cities around the world. The company recently closed two of those centers and plans to decide the future of the remaining five locations in the next few months, as Variety reported last week.

However, the decision to discontinue the VR camera development was made by Google, according to a Variety source.

“Google pulled the plug on the project late last year as part of an apparent shift of focus toward augmented reality, according to that source,” Variety reports.

Google and Imax first announced their VR camera partnership in May 2016. At the time, the two companies said they would jointly develop a cinema-grade VR camera “to enable today’s leading filmmakers and content creators to deliver the highest-quality 3D 360-degree content experiences to audiences worldwide.”

The two companies worked collaboratively on the development of the camera, with Imax bringing its experience in designing high-end cameras to the table, and Google contributing its cloud-based stitching solution for VR content dubbed Jump.

A total of around 60 people, including contractors, worked on the project, according to recent reports.