It has been common knowledge for quite sometime that the future of video gaming is headed towards virtual reality. It is the only possible way players can immerse themselves into the action and game developer have always been pushing the boundaries of what is possible in technology. But for most people, the truth is that while the occasional arcade style game might offer a rudimentary VR experience, most attempts to make this concept a reality have been massive commercial failures. This is significant given that the pioneering companies are gaming giants but their games (Nintendo’s “Virtual Boy”) didn’t turn out to be the success many expected.
However, recent advances in technology are slowly bringing virtual reality back to the forefront. With virtual reality rapidly establishing itself in the gaming medium, online casino developers are now looking for innovative ways of harnessing the possibilities of this new technology.
What is VR?
Virtual reality is computer simulated reality or immersive multimedia reality that you enter and are literally part of by wearing a virtual reality gadget, such as a VR helmet or headphone, many of which are already being sold in the market. It stimulates the user’s physical presence in that environment in a way that makes it possible for the user to interact with it. The equipment is designed to create an artificial sensory experience and this may involve hearing, sight, smell and touch.
There are thousands of casino sites on the web and competition is stiff among operators. It is no longer as easy to attract players and retain them using old methods such as offering a generous welcome package. Online casinos are always looking to make their offerings available across multiple platforms and therefore need to employ technology that will appeal to both new and existing audiences. From games designed with high-definition 3D graphics to live casino games hosted by real dealers and broadcasted in real time from high definition studios to mobile casinos, the online gaming industry has worked hard to provide players with a gaming environment that is not only convenient and secure, but also the next best thing to offline gambling.
But to appeal to the young generation, they have to implement technology that provides a fully interactive and immersive experience than what a traditional gaming floor filled with cookie-cutter slot machines can offer. This leaves implementing virtual reality casinos as the only way of providing the next generation experience that millennials interested in gambling seek. These young gamblers are the future and could spur the iGaming industry to implement immersive game play that could turn out to be better than the real thing.
It is possible that there will be a time when you’ll no longer have to step out of your home to enjoy an immersive casino experience. In future, most payers could be enjoying table games, slots, and poker in a real-life setting. This would turn the online gaming experience which has already been popularized by mobile tech to a whole new level.
The wearable technology involved to play Virtual reality casino game such as slots you have to get into a virtual reality world by putting on a VR-helmet. They are usually designed with multiple LED screens and an installed sound system. The helmets are lightproof and soundproof which means that no sound or light will penetrate them. The technology behind these helmets has moved in leaps and bounds since the first VR helmets were released by SEGA 20 years ago. Currently, there are four big names associated with VR helmets; HTC, SONY, OSVR and Oculus.
While the development of these helmets was spurred by needs in other industries such as health, education and therapy, the two biggest fields remain military training and gaming. However, the online casino gambling business is the industry that is quickly looking into the development of virtual casinos.
Currently, Oculus’s Oculus Rift is the only head mounted VR machine you can use to play virtual reality slots. It was launched on March 28, 2016, making it one of the first VR headsets for consumers. It has a wide field of view, a 90Hz refresh rate and each eye has a resolution of 1080x1200. The headphones are integrated in the helmet to provide a 3D audio effect. The helmet itself has positional and rotational tracking done by a stationary USB IR sensor, which you place on your desktop. This means that you can use the RIFT while sitting, standing or walking around the same room.
SlotsMillion Virtual Casino
While they are not the first online casino vendor to have tried out the idea of VR casino, SlotsMillion is the first one to have successfully implemented one. The online casino, known for its massive offerings of online slots, developed a virtual reality experience that immerses players in a dynamic casino environment that looks and feels like the real thing.
layers can view the casino in VR with the Oculus Rift goggles or in a regular 3D via their PC without using the goggles. The casino lobby was designed as an immersive slots casino complete with music, slot machines, bar disks and lounge couches. The SlotsMillion virtual reality gambling environment is “located” on the 80th floor of a skyscraper overlooking a futuristic cityscape. You can “lean” against the window lobby, look down and experience vertigo as if you were actually standing in a skyscraper at night. The lobby is filled with over 40 3D slot games that players can enjoy for fun or gamble with real money. While wearing the goggles, you can use a controller in your hands to interact with the environment.
Initially, SlotsMillion wanted player’s balances to be visible in its multiplayer tournament games, but regulators maintained that all wins, losses and cash balances should be kept private. However, they also insisted that clocks be visible on walls to prevent players from losing track of time while engrosses in the gambling experience.
Sweden based NetEnt VR developed a Virtual reality version of Gonzo’s quest by enhancing it with the latest WebVR technology. It offers 360 Degree views and unlike traditional online slots that let you open various menus to see the settings and prize structure, Gonzo’s Quest VR has everything in the open so you’ll see everything you need to control the game by spinning around the VR world. And instead of spinning reels, this VR slots have blocks falling from the sky whenever you hit the spin button. A talking parrot is also on hand to highlight wins and loses before you can start the next round. It is one of the slot machines contained in the SlotsMillion VR resorted. Other tittles on offer include:
- hunderstruck II
Is VR the future of online slots?
It has certainly been agreed that VR is the future of high end video gaming and other training and education applications. But does the same hold true for online casino games?
It is evident that what is currently on offer is only the beginning as more companies are experimenting with VR style games that could potentially take advantage of the Oculus Rift and similar headsets, such as Sony’s Playstation VR and Samsung Gear VR. Virtual reality slots have the potential to attract players like never before thanks to the unparalleled experience they offer. This means that operators will want these games in order to bring their disillusioned players back to the fold. They also target a younger audience which is key considering that casinos have a very hard time getting millennials to give slots a try. As the mass market begins to appreciate virtual reality headset technology you ca expect more slots designed for their use in the coming years.