VR specialist confident as sites begin to reopen

Martin Higginson

Immotion Group, the Salford-based immersive entertainment group, posted a postive trading update today as key partner sites begin to reopen.

It said: “We are delighted to announce that our largest installation to date, the ‘Ocean Explorer’ Immersive Theatre at Shark Reef Aquarium, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, is expected to open within the next seven days.

“Whilst many partners are still working their way through the social distancing rules and are operating at reduced capacity, we are starting to see encouraging levels of revenue being generated.

“We are delighted that consumers appear to have appetite for our experiences, with a number of sites showing very high levels of utilisation.”

It said that, while erring towards caution as lockdown measures are being eased, it is enthused by early trading in sites that are fully open, with both Oklahoma Aquarium, and Mystic Aquarium, Connecticut, two new installations completed post lockdown, both operating at almost full capacity.

Oklahoma has requested additional seats to cope with very strong demand.

In the UK Immotion has seen brisk trade at its own ImmotionVR centres, and while operating on reduced opening hours, both bookings and revenue are very encouraging.

Sea Life Blackpool opened last week with the site showing very high levels of utilisation.

The company said it is optimistic that further existing sites will reopen in the coming weeks.

“Our immediate priority is to drive the business back towards monthly breakeven, albeit this is likely to be based in the short term on a smaller installed base and reduced operational costs. We currently have cash on hand of circa £2m,” said the company.

And it revealed that, in order to assist its partners getting back to operational normality, the company has successfully designed and sourced its own proprietary headset UV disinfection unit, called Uvisan.

The unit has been laboratory tested and allows partners to disinfect up to 30 headsets between uses in a matter of minutes.

The company is also developing a retail ‘at home’ product to leverage content generation skills and resources and expects to update the market on this exciting product in the next few weeks.

Chief executive, Martin Higginson, said: “We are thrilled to see sites reopening and to see our booking system spring back to life.

“We are delighted that consumers appear to have appetite for our experiences with a number of sites showing very high levels of utilisation.

“The imminent opening of our flagship installation at Mandalay Bay, along with numerous other sites, gives us a great deal of confidence.

“We continue to tread with caution, but we are quietly pleased by the uptake.

“New installations are moving forward with both Oklahoma, and Mystic our first installs since the pandemic, operating at almost full capacity.

“The development of our Uvisan UV cleansing product puts us on the front foot in terms of reassuring both partners and customers that our offering is safe. It has also given our sales team another revenue-generating product from which we are seeing encouraging early sales.”

He added: “The development of the retail ‘at home’ product is making great progress – the beta product is very exciting, and I believe when launched it will have a major impact.

“We have, where possible, reacted to the challenges enforced upon us by the pandemic.

“We have reduced costs, and been innovative in our approach to both new products and the market. Our team has devised self-installation systems for new partners, cleansing solutions for existing partners, and a revolutionary new product for the home market.”