Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer with more than 6000 stores under its umbrella, is of course jumping on the virtual reality (VR) bandwagon (in this case carnival tent wagon in 16 Walmart parking lots) to buy more VR ‘stuff’ (both software and hardware).

As reported by Variety.com:  “The retailer teamed up with DreamWorks Animation for a touring VR experience tied to “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” Walmart is setting up installations in parking lots of its stores in 16 cities, starting Friday (Feb. 15) in Burbank and culminating in its hometown of Bentonville, Ark., on April 7-9.”

“The goal is to lure fans of the animated dragon franchise into the VR tent, where they’ll strap on VR goggles and take a seat in a motion-activated chair. They’ll then take a nearly five-minute virtual flight and interact with Astrid, Hiccup, Toothless, Hookfang and other characters from the films — after which they’ll be shepherded through a “branded, immersive gift shop.”

“For DreamWorks Animation, it’s also an opportunity to hype the release of [the beloved film series] “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” which opens wide Feb. 22. The studio worked with Spatial&, acquired last year by Walmart’s Store N°8 incubation arm, which was founded on the premise that VR and other emerging storytelling technologies will become major sales tools. It’s the first VR activation for the startup (whose name, spelled out, is “Spatialand”).”

Ever wanted to ride on the back of a dragon? To celebrate ‘How to Train Your Dragon 3’ in theaters, Walmart’s Spatial & and DreamWorks are teaming up to deliver an exclusive VR experience at a Walmart store near you.

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What this could mean? In a recent Frank ‘the Crank’s Daily News #11, we reported that Walmart started testing eSports VR arenas to introduce eSports to their current and future customers to track how much additional store sales of related hardware and software (stuff), additional food/beverage. Overall, our out of home leisure entertainment industry should not look at Walmart as a giant competitor, but rather as a facilitator of getting people to leave their homes. Our industry will find a way to benefit from this ‘anti-couch potato’ movement and we encourage every FEC to look for creative and reasonable inexpensive ways to capture some of the remaining leisure entertainment family spending budget.

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