Once upon a time virtual reality was the stuff of science fiction; putting on a headset to escape to another world. Living out those vicarious fantasies, travelling without moving, experiencing people, places, and other dimensions whilst sat in your semi-detached home in sleepy suburbia. Gaming consoles and mobile phone adaptors have brought virtual reality to the masses. Most of us will have tried it at least once.
To be honest: virtual reality has arrived with more of a whimper than a bang – but it’s not going away. Like the Sony Walkman of old, this is tech that has a future. It will evolve, improve, and eventually find a vital function in all our lives.
Survival of the Fittest
Ever since the Internet first connected to the world, online gambling has been at the cutting edge of new trends and developments. Hungry for market share, businesses have invested in innovation; from simple one-click payment solutions and sophisticated search engine optimisation, to live streaming casinos and multi-platform capabilities.
Virtual reality has been in the mix since it was first conceived in the late 1980s by VR hardware developer Jaron Lanier. Conceptually, virtual reality was a hit, inspiring books, films, and artists. In the non-VR, real world, the gap between concept and reality was huge; a chasm that the technology of the day could not bridge. Thirty years later and virtual reality is a reality.
In less that a decade, analyst predict that more than 100 million people worldwide could be active VR users; developers are breaking the ice on these new virtual frontiers. SlotsMillion was launched in 2015 as the world’s first virtual casino. It allows users to wander around a casino floor and interact with other players. The actual games are the same as those you would find at any other typical online casino.
Stockholm-based developers NetEnt recently showcased a virtual reality version of their hit online slot Gonzo’s Quest, where you could wander through Gonzo’s world in between spinning the reels. It looked great but still failed to get any real traction
NetEnt, BetConstruct, and Microgaming have all released VR casino prototypes, where players can enjoy a game of blackjack and wander off to the roulette table in a virtual environment. Unfortunately, the appetite for virtual reality is limited and the technology is still a case of ‘close but no cigar’. The virtual casinos are yet to catch on.
Meanwhile in Las Vegas…
In the land of real world casinos, virtual reality is making an impact – but not on the gaming floor. In Las Vegas, immersive gaming is the hot ticket and developers Zero Latency are the masters of the game. The company has 35 venues in 19 countries around the world, where players can battle zombie and alien hoards in a virtual world. In Las Vegas, the MGM Grand hosts the game where up to eight people can play simultaneously. If you have had more than enough of the roulette and blackjack tables, now you can take it out on the undead.
Virtual reality is a perfect example of a platform looking for a train. In 1969, BBC2 started broadcasting television shows in colour. The programmers were looking for content that would showcase the new technology. They decided on snooker. Snooker had a renaissance; becoming one of the most popular sports on British television in the 1970s and 1980s. Virtual reality will eventually find its snooker and we will all be hooked.
Watch this virtual space!