How VR Is Set To Transform Online Casinos
With the online gambling and betting market expected to reach an all-time high of around $100 billion by 2026, the industry continues to be huge business. However, for an industry dealing in digital technologies, its innovations seem to have reached something of a plateau in recent years. While game graphics continue to be refined, and new slants on fan-favourite features are introduced within video slots, there hasn’t been much that has redefined the online gaming experience of late. Well, that may soon change.
One avenue many top market iGaming brands are investing heavily in Virtual Reality or VR, which is anticipated to drastically change how players experience and interact with online casinos in the near future. With VR headsets and haptic technology evolving at a rapid pace, and hardware becoming more accessible to the masses, it is now increasingly plausible that players will be experiencing virtual reality casinos that go beyond mere 3D renderings of brick-and-mortar establishments. VR Casinos are set to offer immersive, interactive worlds which online players can engage with in real-time.
What features will virtual reality casinos include?
VR is opening up exciting new possibilities for innovative features to be launched in the online gaming world. Currently, players are only able to interact with online casinos from behind their screen by using their keyboard, mouse, or mobile touchscreen. While live streams have bridged the gap somewhat, players still remain at a once-remove from the visceral action and communal aspect of the true casino experience.
Online casinos are now looking to create more immersive gaming worlds, where players can engage with their surroundings and interact with dealers and players in new and imaginative ways through VR headsets and controllers. Some of the features online casinos are currently developing include:
Immersive Online Casinos
Through beautifully designed, fully-immersive 3D spaces, players will be able to explore online casinos like never before. Imagine sitting at the casino bar while chatting to fellow players, then walking across the casino floor to soak up the bustling atmosphere of the many tables currently in play. By using sounds from real casinos that incorporate a 3D spatial aspect, the online casino experience will feel even more lifelike.
3D Game Tables
Online table games have come a long way since their original inception. However, the current table game experience on online casinos remains quite a static affair, with a simple one-shot, top-down view of the table, where play unfolds with a disembodied languor. In VR Casinos, players will be able to sit down at a seat of their own choosing around a detailed table set up in dedicated games rooms. Play will feel more intuitive with players being able to reach out onto the table to place their cards or chips, while freely scanning the room to follow the action and excitement.
VR Slot Machines
With their trend for colourful themes filled with fun characters and dynamic gameplay, slot machines present the opportunity for even wilder, more exciting possibilities in VR. Games developers are already exploring ways in which they can place players within these fantastical worlds while offering more opportunities to engage with the spinning reels, multipliers, expanding scatters and more. NetEnt, a leading provider of digital casino games, has already launched its first real-money Virtual Reality slot game, based on one of its most popular titles Gonzo’s Quest.
When you think of a real-life casino experience, a lot more comes to mind than gambling and winning (or losing) money. A big part of the casino experience is the communal aspect. Hanging out with friends, competing against players, feeding off the energy of the room. This social facet will be one of the next major developments in VR casinos, enabling players to chat with dealers, tablemates, and friends alike through the latest conferencing technology.
VR is only limited by a developer’s imagination. In effect this means, that soon online casinos may take a million different guises. For some players, a recreation of a standard Las Vegas casino will simply not entice them, no matter how glamourous it looks. But how about a casino set on an alien planet, run by extra-terrestrial dealers? Or a casino submerged beneath the ocean, where colossal sea creatures drift outside huge glass-pane windows? VR makes these eccentricities possible. As online gambling continues to merge with the world of video games, it is also likely that casinos may begin to introduce RPG aspects to their online experience, meaning players can explore the casino’s wider world in more detail and interact with players outside of a betting scenario.
All these VR features will drastically enhance the gambling experience, while giving iGaming brands the potential to reach new audiences not attuned to traditional casinos.