With the popularity of VR, it was only a matter of time for online casinos to start dabbling in it. Already, several companies are experimenting with it, and there are already several options, both in online and land-based casinos. In this article, we will discuss in what ways VR is being incorporated into online gambling and what this could mean for the future of the industry.
VR And It’s Popularity in Vegas
VR has already taken Vegas by storm. Two major firms have joined hands to produce one of the world’s first Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for the casino. Software developer IGT and Taiwanese electronics firm HTC have partnered up to create ‘Virtual Zones’ in casinos all over the world. The first of these Virtual Zones is already live and functioning in the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. It represents a huge leap forward in technology and may be a glimpse of what the gambling industry will look like for the rest of the twenty-first century.
The Virtual Zone offers players access to a whole range of games of various types, including multiplayer games and even games of skill, where they get a chance at winning several times their initial stake. For example, Virtual Zone offers a game called Siege VR, here players have to play as a team to defend their castle from hordes of zombies. The cost is $30 per team, and the team that gets the highest score each day will win $300. Another popular game there is Archery VR, this is a single player game that requires skill. The game its self is rather simple: archery in a VR environment. Here players pay $10 to play, and the daily top score pays out at $125.
IGT has also released a software developer kit that game developers can use at will to create their own VR environments and games, in order to further develop and promote this technology. The new development in the casino industry is being watched closely by online casinos from all over the world, including Europe and the UK. With the popularity of VR and an increasing number of headsets being sold, it is only a matter of time before UK casinos join the trend.
The future looks promising, however. The idea of creating a fully virtual casino, where you can walk around, meet live dealers for table games, play on VR slots, as well as plenty of other games of skill or luck, has been floating around for a while now.
IGT is already a well-known developer of casino software, and the Virtual Zone only represents the first venture of its type. The company was founded way back in 1990 and creates some of the most popular video slots in the whole industry, including Da Vinci Diamonds, Cleopatra, Cats, and Kitty Glitter, games that have been entertaining players for decades. The fact that this developer has chosen to experiment with VR proves that VR is here to stay.
Other developers like NetEnt have also gotten on board very quickly. They have already announced a VR version of one of their most popular slots, Gonzo’s Quest for the summer of 2018. If you have a VR headset, you can simply plug in, select the slot and enjoy a fully immersive experience into the world of online slots. The game itself is rather simple and doesn’t offer much more gameplay than a regular online slot, but the graphics are superior and the VR experience of being in the game will appeal to many gamers, if only for the novelty of it.
Though we see several game developers developing VR slots, online slots only represent a small fraction of the possibilities VR could offer online casinos and their players. We already touched on the topic of games of skill. Live casino is another area where VR can offer casino players a more profound gambling experience. Augmented reality has already made its way to live casinos, especially in roulette. When you log into UK casinos, you will see a live dealer, while the board takes a shape according to your preference. This is already a form of augmented reality, but the ambition of casinos goes much further. Various software developers are looking at ways to transform the online casino experience into a fully immersive VR environment.
Of course, there are a few hurdles to overcome. First of all, though games like archery and defending a fort may seem simple enough, online casino regulators such as the UK Gambling Commission, and the Malta Gaming Authority have yet to take a stance on this type of games, and it is not yet clear which type of VR games will be licenced for UK and EU markets. Secondly, though VR is increasingly popular, most households in the UK don’t own a VR headset just yet. This means that the development of this type of game will depend largely on the size of the audience for it, and not all companies are convinced that VR is the direction they need to be going just yet.
Though most casinos still stick to the traditional combination of slots, and table games, if VR games and games of skill become licensed for by regulators all over the world, it is hard to imagine what the gambling games of the future will look like. Almost any game imaginable could become a casino game, whether it is a game of skill or luck. All e-sport players could become a type of professional gamblers, and it will be interesting to see how creators of VR games develop new games that have nothing to do with traditional slots. This, of course, depends largely on the whims of regulators regarding which types of games will be licensed. Will we see large real money e-sport tournaments where players have to buy in to get a chance to win large? What type of games of chance will we see as Virtual Reality gains more and more traction with the general public? Only time will tell.