If you go back a couple of years, Microgaming was the first company to present a virtual reality casino game that included current technology. It was a roulette game shown at industry trade shows, and it got a tremendous reception. A lot of players thought that smartwatch apps were going to be the next big thing for the online casino industry, but instead, it's virtual reality, or VR for short.
How VR Online Casinos Work
There are two main components of a virtual reality casino. The first component is the hardware, and this is in the form of a headset that connects to your computer. Next, there is the actual software, and that's what runs on your computer to facilitate the playing of the games through the headset. You generally need both to get the full experience, though as you'll see below, there are some opportunities to play a version of VR casinos that are less than fully functional on your usual computer monitor.
As we mentioned above, many people thought that the smartwatch was going to be the technology to get the next push for online casino games. However, they didn't sell very well, and not very many people have one because they have a very limited use and are still pretty expensive. With virtual reality headsets, however, the opposite is the case. You can make your own with cardboard, a couple of lenses that you purchase online and a smartphone, which are components that are pretty easy to find if you don't want to purchase a standalone headset on your own.
Due primarily to the wider availability of the hardware, it seems like 2017 is going to be the year that virtual reality online casinos really explode in terms of overall popularity.
The SlotsMillion VR Casino
SlotsMillion Casino, which gets great ratings for all of its platforms, launched the first VR online casino already. At this time, they offer over 40 slots for play in this VR environment, and players who do not have a headset can log in and play on their computer monitor instead. It offers a 3D environment where you can see some of the other players moving around, but they can't see your actual game screen or any personal information about you. Instead, all they can see is which game you're playing.
The game lobby for this VR experience allows you to move around and browse the available titles. They are up on virtual game machines that look similar to what you'd see in land-based casinos, but there are also other ways to play, like if you are sitting in a lounge-like area with a big screen projected onto the opposite wall. It's a very interesting way of presenting the titles, and it will only develop more and more from here.
The Same Titles in a Different Experience
If you think about what mobile slots did for the online slot industry, you can see how VR games might change the existing desktop- and mobile-based industry. You'll essentially be playing the same games, but they will be played inside of a different type of experience, and that's where the key elements of the VR hardware come into play.
At this stage of the game, all we have available for real money play are slots. These are the easiest titles to implement inside of the VR environment because the controls and presentation of the games are relatively simple. However, what will really change things up is when we get to the point that VR table games are the standard. This could change things up for table games just like live dealer games did, and we could even see some crossover in the future.
Where the Industry is Headed
Mobile isn't going away anytime soon, and its share of the market keeps growing each year. However, we think that virtual reality betting is going to be the next big thing for desktop players, particularly for table games, because it will incorporate more of a feel-based experience. Add in the social interaction that you get from live dealer games, and you could have the closest thing to visiting a live casino from the comfort of your home that we've ever had available.
And that's ultimately where we are headed in the industry: a point where players will be able to get almost the exact same experience as visiting a land-based casino, except it will be using virtual reality equipment at home. This is an exciting time to see technology in the online casino world develop, and it opens up doors to a ton of new types of games and concepts inside of the different genres available today.
Press Release, Virtual Reality slotsmillion.com, January 1, 2017
Alexandre Tomic, Will Virtual Reality Shake Up the Gambling Industry? October 19, 2016