Virtual Reality Casino Gaming the Next Big Thing?
It feels like only a few years ago that virtual reality casino gaming would have been regarded as some kind of a technological joke; an idea from the 90s that just never caught on, not having the potential to really be used as a medium. Things seem to be changing rapidly.
In an ever-growing number of fields, virtual reality technology is providing very interesting solutions to central challenges. Whether it’s digital art, medicine, education or recreation, virtual reality seems to be growing as a viable and creative tool for progress. This is helped on by the fact that equipment is becoming cheaper both on the development and commercial side.
As far as online gaming goes, the potential is huge. Virtual reality has always been enjoyed as an immersive environment for gaming-like situations. Even when the graphics were basic, the idea of being able to view a 360 degree space is something that is automatically stimulating and can make for a very entertaining experience. Now that the technology is being pushed further, there’s no doubt that this will have a huge impact on all forms of gaming and on the online experience in general.
With regards to wager-based games, it seems like virtual reality is an ocean that’s just waiting to be discovered. The opportunities are endless: walk-through casinos that don’t have to exist according to regular architectural limits, or even gravity? It’s the ability to create casino games that can be experienced on a whole new level, not to mention sports betting and of course poker.
This isn’t just a crazy theory either. The online casino industry is already well aware of the potential of virtual reality. According to a study that was released by Juniper last year, “gambling wagers within virtual reality are set to rise by 800% within the next five years.”
Developers in the world of online casino games have indeed begun research into virtual reality. Actually, a few have already dived in, catching onto the trend as it blasts off. Even Microgaming, a major player in the online casino software industry, has a virtual reality roulette table and casino in development. Once a company like that shows serious interest in something like VR, it’s only a matter of time before others will follow.
At the ICE (International Casino Conference) exhibition in 2016, Microgaming showed off just what this new avenue could be capable of. Surrounded by a futuristic CRYO lab of sorts, the VR roulette game could be experienced in all of its three-dimensional immersive glory, sending players to outer space to play roulette. The game was set up with an Oculus Rift DK2 headset and a Leap Motion device to track the players’ hand movements.
The use of apps has already proved to be a major avenue of income for the world of online gaming and we’ve seen that there is already a large number of amazing online casino apps for mobile gaming. Income from mobile games has shown a steady growth of about 10% a year and that isn’t likely to stop.
In the online casino world, the customer base is still limited to some extent. While mobile gaming has introduced the fun of casino games to younger players, virtual reality has the potential to take that trend even further. Over the last few years we’ve seen slot games develop into a digital experience that goes way beyond the original one-armed-bandit-inspired online games of the 90s. Elaborate animations and captivating themes make today’s online slots a lot of fun, but most games can still be regarded as variations of that original slot template. With virtual reality, it’s hard to even image where this could lead.