Forget what you know about online casinos, the game is about to change. The power of virtual reality technology is transforming online casinos into immersive, interactive experiences that are the next best thing to being there. Although social gaming and online gambling platforms have grown loyal customer bases over the last decade, VR casinos will soon begin to siphon off gamers and gamblers, alike, from 2D and 3D gambling platforms.
Even if it is, perhaps, too early to lay down the “disruption” card, virtual reality casino platforms offer a lifelike experience so real that old gaming technology simply cannot compete. From expansive and luxurious casinos that users can experience in fully-immersive 3D to highly-interactive multiplayer gameplay, VR casinos include everything but complimentary drinks on the house. On second thought, drinks are included.
In his article, we will preview the technology that is poised to impact the iGaming and iGambling industries in a big way. How big? Analysts predict that bets made through VR gambling will reach nearly $520 billion by 2021, an 800% increase over this year’s humble beginnings.
The Virtual Reality Casino Explained
In the world of online casinos, there are two basic types: entertainment casinos and real money casinos. Entertainment casinos allow users to play the slots, roulette wheel, or card games with no opportunity of monetary reward for winning. Real money casinos, on the other hand, target players who play for the chance to win cash. Advances in technology have elevated platforms for top casinos of both types from 2D to 3D in recent years — nice, but still lacking in anything close to true realism.
This is where VR steps in to save the day.
Through tremendous advances in VR software and hardware, virtual reality casinos go beyond mere pseudo-3D interfaces and plunge players right onto the casino floor. By using a VR headset and compatible VR iGambling platform, users can enjoy a lifelike, interactive casino experience and engage other players in real time. The following features are typical of what VR casinos offer:
- Detailed casino game rooms, which players can walk through and explore in fully-immersive 3D.
- Realistic slot machines, in casinos that offer them.
- 3D game tables, where players can pick their seats, interact with the live dealer, and engage with other players.
- The ability to display hand and body gestures, and to observe those of other players.
- Real casino sounds, some with a 3D spatial aspect.
- In-game chats.
Players can even stop off at the bar for a drink, or sit in the lounge and talk with other players. As opposed to gimmicky gamified casinos, VR platform developers are making the VR experience as lifelike as possible, right down to the ability to fire up a cigar during the game.
The VR casino industry is in its embryonic stage, but a couple of solid games have emerged. Here are the two most popular virtual casinos, as of the time this article was written. This list, however, is sure to grow rapidly. Meanwhile, a growing list of platforms remain under development.
Slotsmillion, developed by Lucky VR, represents VR casino innovation at its current best. There are no card games, here, only 40+ slot machines and a gameroom that is indistinguishable from the real thing — no, really. The gameroom is situated on the 80th floor of a high-rise, overlooking a futuristic city. Those not faint of heart can even lean against the window and look down at the city, when not playing the slots, sitting on a couch in the lounge, or having a drink at the bar.
The best part, for those whose place of domicile allows them to do so legally, is that SlotsMillion lets users play for real money. There is even 24/7 customer support to make sure players get the most from their time in the casino.
SlotsMillion runs on Oculus Rift for VR immersion, but will play perfectly well on Windows, albeit not in immersive VR.
Casino VR Poker
Casino VR Poker was developed in Switzerland and features a highly-detailed interface, with realistic full-body players. The casino includes six Texas Hold’em poker tables, and spatial voice chatting. Casino VR is cross-platform compatible, and runs on Oculus Rift or Gear VR. Just beware — Gear VR players are not as animated as those using Oculus Rift. Rumer is, support for Steam is on the way with HTC Vive a future possibility.
The casino gifts players with a stack of free chips at the beginning of gameplay, which they can replenish through an in-app purchase or having winning hands. Casino VR Poker is an entertainment-only casino, so chips cannot be cashed back in.
Each table has different buy-in levels, much like the real thing. And just like the real thing, players with higher skill levels will generally win all the chips. An in-game dashboard allows players to view each other’s winnings, among other things.
Although there are currently precious few games to evaluate, the Oculus Rift is likely to dominate the VR Casino space for the immediate future, based on the PC-power behind it.
Casino VR Poker, as we said, runs on the Oculus Rift, which requires a beefy gaming PC for optimum performance. It should come as no surprise, then, that the player experience is less awe-inspiring using the Android-driven Gear VR.
The Google Daydream represents an inexpensive VR headset and controller and is designed to work with the Android smartphone. Although not currently listed as compatible on either of the two game sites, Casino VR Poker is experimenting with it.
While VR gear is not required to play most VR casinos, users who play using Windows versions of the software will, or course, be deprived of most of the exciting features. Instead, they will be served the “3D” version of the platform.
The Future of VR Casinos
It is reaching to talk about the future of VR casinos, with so few games to currently speak of. Nevertheless, if we put on our gamer’s hat, we can make some pretty good guesses.
The current effort is to simulate brick-and-mortar casinos, and there will be strong growth in this area for true gamblers. However, for the gamers-turned-gamblers, developers will soon realize the need to create non-traditional casinos to satisfy gamers’ thirst for new experiences. One can imagine visiting a VR casino operating in the dingy basement of a crime-ridden big city, or playing blackjack on the moon.
We already see U.S. casinos investing in VR gaming platforms that can be played inside their establishments. In keeping with the spirit of “if you can’t beat them, join them,” maybe they will also churn out their own VR casinos, and perhaps they will be replicas of their brick-and-mortar gambling houses.
Finally, as VR gear and smartphone technologies continue to improve, it is likely we will see better performance from phone-based headsets.
How AppReal-VR Can Help?
AppReal-VR has experience in developing VR Gambling environment. We believe that such environment shouldn’t necessarily be similar to the real experience, but should take advantage of what VR can offer. Whether it’s Slots, Blackjack or Roulette, playing in VR should be exciting and offer great user experience for the users. Our experience and know how in 360, 3D and placing 2D objects in 3D environment will help to to achieve a REAL VR experience.
Development in the virtual reality casino space is sure to be a lucrative venture. Not only is the industry flush with cash, but profit-minded investors from outside the industry will certainly want a piece of the action. But, as with any venture, success is not guaranteed. In fact, for those without the unique set of skills to develop in the VR space, it is a losing proposition.
Whether you endeavor to develop virtual reality casino games, online platforms, or mobile apps, you need a technology partner that knows the rules of the game. AppReal-VR would like to be that partner. We have experience with VR, especially with Gambling in VR environment - don’t miss the chance to work with us.
The entire online casino industry is projected to reach $2.85 billion by 2020. If you are serious about wanting your cut of the market, why gamble with uncertainty? Call us, today, and ensure that the hand you play is a winner.