It is somewhat of a paradox. For years and years, gambling, which many people consider a vice, has been the unlikely driver of change. Gambling was one of the very first industries to embrace the internet age, and for a while, no one believed that we would ever have online casinos. When smartphone technology went mainstream, it was this industry that rose once again to lead the pack towards mobile gaming. Now, the field is quickly proliferating the application of virtual reality technologies in a bid to better the experience of the gambler.
Long time coming
Ideally, VR fits in with gambling like a perfect part of jigsaw. Over the years, brick and mortar casinos as well as their online equivalents have been looking for a way to provide an even more immersive experience to their users. Virtual Reality is all about simulating a dream environment using electronic equipment and allowing player to explore. The ultimate goal is to make both physical and virtual casino gaming as close to surreal as possible. Companies like Oculus are at the sharp end of this technology, having rolled out VR headsets and goggles. They are now in the process of developing one-of-a-kind VR gloves, and gamers are hanging on to news of the inevitable breakthroughs of the future. Generally, the response from the gambling community has been overwhelming; the general consensus is that players feel better engaged when they exist in a bubble their can control via a set of electronic devices hooked to computers. Those in the brick and mortar world see this as an extension of their existential world. With VR, you get to navigate the floors and tinker with the slots of an entire casino from the comfort of your home. It is without a doubt a game changer.
We already have a pace setter.
Gambling VR is not a dream nursed by techies in their nerd caves; it is, in fact, a reality that some gamblers have been living for years now. In 2015, ALEA, the online gaming super-conglomerate, decided to test the waters by launching the pioneer VR casino in the world, SlotsMillion. This was made possible via the integration of Oculus’ Rift headsets and software technologies that are part web-based and part offline. Once a player is ‘plugged in’ (ever watched the Matrix franchise?), they get to learn the nuances of their new environment, interacting with agents, staffers and most importantly, other players. In the virtual world, you get to look at your gaming environment via a 3D perspective.
Demystifying the casino of the future
Land-based gaming is soon going to be part of the nostalgic past, except for the industry players capable of replicating the use of VR consoles in their brick-and mortar entities. The competition in the gambling industry is fierce. It’s no longer enough to offer a good casino bonus or free spins upon signup. That’s why a lot of the major online casino brands are jumping onto the VR bandwagon. VR may not take over gambling in 2017, but it has drawn the first blood. The die has been cast, and it is only a matter of time before headsets, goggles and gloves take over wholesomely.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by all Troy Media columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Troy Media.
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