Beyond Alien and Planet of the Apes experiences, Fox hoping for ‘commercial VR business’

The film Alien: Covenant is scheduled to be released this year. Image: 20th Century Fox

The Fox Innovation Lab from 20th Century Fox is planning to continue pushing on the virtual reality front, with the goal of not only promoting its upcoming films but also making money from VR content.

During the recent CES trade show in Las Vegas the company announced it will make VR experiences in conjunction with its upcoming films "Alien: Covenant" and "War for the Planet of the Apes."

Specifically, 20th Century Fox said its Innovation Lab would make a "Planet of the Apes"-themed VR experience with Imaginati Studios. The experience will likely be released in conjunction with the studio’s upcoming "Apes" film.

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Separately, 20th Century Fox also announced it would create a VR experience around its upcoming Alien: Covenant movie in partnership with director Ridley Scott's RSA Films. RSA previously worked with Fox on its VR experience for The Martian.

And it appears more VR news is on the way: “We have VR Experiences for PLANET OF THE APES and ALIEN coming this year, and will have more exciting news later this week!” tweeted company representative James Finn today.

Fox hasn't provided details on the performance of its existing VR offerings. The company's Martian-themed VR content offering costs $10 to access, and is billed as an "experience" rather than a game. To be clear, the VR market remains in the early stages, with few headsets available and a relatively small user base.

Related: Comcast, DirecTV among pay-TV operators kicking the tires on virtual reality

Importantly, Fox isn’t just viewing VR as a promotional effort for its upcoming movies. The company eventually hopes to turn VR content into a commercial business. “We see VR as a new media opportunity, not just a promotional vehicle,” Fox Innovation Lab President Mike Dunn recently told Variety. “Our intention from the moment we developed our business plan was to be in the commercial VR business.”

Of course, Fox isn’t the only media company playing in the VR space. For example, The NFL and Google announced recently that they’ll be working together on a nine-part 360-degree virtual reality series. Produced by NFL Films, the series will follow players, coaches, executives, cheerleaders and fans on game day.

Goldman Sachs last year predicted the VR market will be worth $80 billion by 2025, with video entertainment encompassing about $3.2 billion of that pie.

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