Virtual Reality Casino Games: How New Tech Could Change the Game
Virtual Reality (VR) is set to become a $2.2 billion industry by 2023 according to a report by Research and Markets. With the market expected to grow by 54.84% over the next five years, VR will undoubtedly start to have a much greater impact on our lives. Gaming developers are always ahead of the curve when it comes to technology and we’re already starting to see what the future has in store.
Although we’re probably a few years away from the first fully functioning VR casino, the leading developers are already getting in on the act. In 2016, Microgaming took the lead by developing a virtual roulette experience. Using Leap 3D handsets and Oculus Rift, Microgaming was able to produce an immersive roulette game that offered a 360-degree gaming experience.
Casino VR Starting to Evolve
With Microgaming leading the way, NetEnt entered the VR field in 2017 with an enhanced version of its slot classic, Gonzo’s Quest. Like VR Roulette, the video spinner was more of a prototype than a finished product. However, the seeds have been planted and, within the next decade, we should expect to see them blossom. The question is, how? Putting traditional casino games into a VR setting is fairly simple. Because we’re used to table games and riffling chips, it’s easy to see how roulette, blackjack et al could become a virtual activity. The same is true of poker. In fact, there are currently a few online poker sites that have started to offer a VR experience.
However, things start to become a little less obvious when we look at slots. Because we’re typically set back from the action, it’s not as easy to see how VR slots will become popular on first inspection. If we took popular titles like Starburst and Immortal Romance in their current forms, there probably isn’t a way to make them work as VR products. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Firstly, we could see augmented reality (AR) become useful in these scenarios. Unlike VR where players are surrounded by a virtual environment, AR puts virtual elements on to real objects. From this, we could see symbols and reels projected on to our tables and walls.
VR to Bring a New Dimension to Casino Gaming
Beyond that, let’s consider why we actually play casino games. Aside from trying to win money, we do it to have fun. This is evident when we look at how certain slots have become more like video games in recent years. Using that as a base, you can see where VR fits into the equation.
If we call them slots 2.0, there’s scope to incorporate more elaborate storylines, levels and characters. In essence, VR will allow developers to make slots even more like video games. The upshot of this is that they’ll become even more entertaining. For example, let’s say you put on a VR headset and stand in front of the reels. As you roll in the right combination of symbols, a door at the side of the reels opens up and you get to walk through into a new world.
In this bonus game you’ll get to play for additional prizes before walking back to the main game. By creating a multi-level experience, slots will become a whole new proposition. That, in our opinion, would be the biggest contribution VR could make to the casino industry.
In practice, VR table games will be great. However, the experience itself probably won’t feel overly innovative. Fun, yes, but not ground-breaking. In contrast, if developers can use VR to add new dimensions to the slots, it could change the game and take it to a whole new level.