Virtual Reality Gaming – The Future of Online Gaming
Will VR Come to Casinos?
The internet has revolutionised many areas of life, from work to recreation. Casinos have been particularly affected, taking advantage of the online opportunities to reach more people than they ever did when confined to bricks-and-mortar. The advent of smartphones heralded an even bigger customer base. Millions carry a mini-computer wherever they go, and now gambling on the move is an everyday activity. VR could be the next big step for online casinos with many already making the leap. To keep up to date with the latest news, reviews, and tips from the online casino scene, be sure to check out online-casinos.ca.
Casinos and Technology
Smartphones are still relatively new, but already account for over a third of all online betting. The improved convenience and accessibility have been seized on by consumers, and the competitiveness of the gambling industry has seen casinos eager to get their slice of the action. For more on how technology has already changed the face of gambling check out this article we wrote about technology and casinos. In short, if technology can enhance the gambling experience, we know that both gamblers and casinos are ready to dive right in.
That said, there are some critical differences between VR and smartphones. For a start, many people already have a smartphone, but don’t have a VR headset. On top of that, mobiles are just that, whereas few people take their VR gear outside of home. Currently, there’s just no comparison between the two. But the future could be quite different. Just as phones can be used for all kinds of things, there are a huge number of applications for VR which could see ownership numbers soar in coming years.
What’s Driving VR Development?
Video games are a multi-billionaire dollar industry, and one of the key drivers of VR development. But it’s only one of numerous uses for the technology. Medically, VR can be used for immersion therapy to help treat anxiety, phobias and other conditions. On the educational level the technology offers the hope of touring ancient cities rebuilt in a digital, virtual world. There’s scope to use VR to see sporting events from the perspective of the referee (or through car cameras), and to use it as a training aid for surgeons, astronauts, and many more professions. VR today has a long way to go, but there are an awful lot of people, from the military to academics, with a vested interest in developing the technology.
Currently, VR isn’t really an option for gambling, though a few have taken the first steps to provide a truly immersive experience – it’s the next step from establishments using live dealers. However, it may never be on the table for motion sickness sufferers (the tech can induce vomiting, which isn’t exactly going to help your concentration halfway through a tasty hand of poker). But that’s not to say technological progress hasn’t been made when it comes to casinos. As well as the rising popularity of mobile gambling, the invention of video poker gives a real casino atmosphere coupled with the comfort of playing at home. The next logical step is to move to VR. Once other industries, particularly video games, take VR headsets to mass market success and consumers adopt them by the million, expect casinos to be more eager for a slice of the action.
Casinos are peculiarly well-suited to VR because the action doesn’t require locomotion. The best video game experiences with VR tend to be things like piloting/space flight simulators. This is because you don’t need to move from A to B as a player, you just stay in your chair and let the vehicle move you. VR can work with moving players around, but this can also induce motion sickness. A casino experience, in terms of the technical aspects, is actually pretty similar to a flight simulator. The player stays in their chair, and interacts with the world without walking anywhere. Whether it’s pulling back the lever on a slot machine or pulling back the throttle on a plane/spacecraft, the mechanics are very similar.
The head-mounted display (HMD) is the main VR option, although it is possible to create a virtual environment by displaying virtual content on room-sized screens. The headset, though, already has major developers including Apple, Samsung, and Google racing to get ahead in a crowded and rapidly developing market. It was not too long ago you could even watch matches such as Toronto FC’s Eastern Conference Championship victory on VR.
With that much money flowing it’s hard to believe VR isn’t going to advance rapidly, and, when it does, recent history proves the gambling industry will take full advantage.
A Vision of a VR Casino
So what would a VR gambling experience look like? Maybe more important is what it sounds like. According to Marxent, accurate sound is essential and humans react more quickly to audio than visual cues. Ambient noise and the dealer’s voice will be critical components in an immersive atmosphere. On the visual front, expect a combination of high definition graphics and real life dealers. It could also bring human body language to online bluffing, depending on just how much of your competitors you can see.
VR is not the only area of technological advancement that could easily come to casinos. Recent years have seen smartphones and even smartwatches allowing players to use apps. Let’s also not forget cryptocurrency being used for payment and their blockchains as a secure technology. If you’re interested in learning more about how technological development has affected, and may affect, the casino industry in the future, you should read our article on how it has improved online gaming here.
As mentioned above, HMDs (headsets) are almost certainly the way things will go. Right now there’s a huge number of rivals, from PlayStation VR to the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift (and that’s before we get to big hitters like Apple and Google). This might create a slightly lopsided market, as we see now with mobile gaming due to the Android/iOS dominance over Windows and BlackBerry. Or we might see the options whittled down rapidly. It’s too early to say how the battle to be top dog in the nascent world of VR will progress. What you can be sure of is that if VR headsets become half as a popular as smartphones then the gambling industry’s software developers will be working hard to bring casinos into VR headsets.