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Are virtual reality casinos really the future?

09 Jul | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Are virtual reality casinos really the future?

Will the evolution of virtual reality technology lead to a new wave of online casino games? We take a look at the facts.

Oculus Rift, Samsung VR, HTC Vive. If you’ve paid attention to the tech world over the last three years, these brands will look familiar.

As technology has improved, so too has the scope of what virtual reality (VR) headsets can do. According to Research and Markets the VR market will have an annual growth rate of 54.84 per cent over the next five years.

As per the research agency’s 2017 report, VR education tools alone could be worth $2.2bn (£1.6bn) by 2023.

This begs two questions:

– Will online casinos fully embrace VR technology?

– How far can VR technology take our gaming experience?

If you look at the recent trends in iGaming, you’ll notice there has been a push for greater realism. An example of this is our Live Casino lounge. 

From what started as a handful of options has become full suite that includes blackjack, roulette, baccarat, poker and a Wheel of Fortune-style game known as Dream Catcher.

These games are different because they feature real croupiers and dealers as opposed to virtual images. This has the effect of making everything feel more authentic and, in turn, engaging.

Realism is driving the next generation of gaming

Moving on from live dealer games, today’s leading developers are working to create virtual environments that look realistic and feel realistic. Using haptic technology, software companies can no combine visual stimulation with sensory feedback.

On top of this, you’ve got biofeedback options. The VR horror game Nevermind was one of the first to use technology that actively read the user’s physical signs.

Using a range of sensors, the game can detect when the player is nervous by reading their heart-rate. The game then has the ability to change as the player’s vital signs change.

For live casino games, this type of technology is a potential goldmine. In fact, Microgaming and NetEnt have already started to explore the possibilities of VR casino games.

Microgaming took the lead in 2016 with a prototype of a new VR Roulette experience. Since then, NetEnt has taken its popular slot Gonzo’s Quest and made it a more immersive experience. Naturally, these are early days in the VR casino sector, but the seeds have been planted.

The options are (potentially) endless

Will VR allow us to wander around a Las Vegas casino? Could haptics bring the vibration of riffling chips to life?

What about biofeedback, could a player’s nerves affect the flow of the game? In theory, there are tons of possibilities when you combine VR and casino gaming. However, the reality might be different.

As much as players want a more realistic betting experience, speed is still important. If you ante-up  on a live roulette table, you’ll have around 15 seconds to place your bets.

Keeping the action ticking over at a rapid pace is the only way to stop players getting bored or frustrated. 

In terms of VR games, speed could be an issue. Just as people visit a bricks and mortar casino to have a good time, the same could happen in a VR world. As well as the novelty factor, people might feel like it’s OK to take their time or succumb to distractions.

This could kill the authenticity of the experience.

Can there be a balance between reality and virtual reality?

VR will inevitably find a place in the iGaming world. Just how much space it will consume, however, remains to be seen. The options are certainly exciting and, with careful planning, could revolutionise the industry.

But if developers can’t strike the right balance between speed, interaction and realism, VR may not be the future of casino gaming.