Without a doubt, technology has transformed the casino industry dramatically. First, came the advent of the video slot machine in the 1970s, followed by the development of online casinos in the 1990s, and now the application of Virtual Reality technology to online casinos. Virtual Reality as we know it today is an immersive sensual experience simulated by computer technology through head gear, sensors or computer screens. While the technology is still in its early stages, an immersive visual and audio interactive casino environment has been created with success by Slots Million. The implications of enjoying a casino experience without leaving the comfort of home are endless. Net Entertainment and Microgaming, leading forces of the online slot industry, are focusing their efforts into implementing Virtual Reality technology as quickly as possible.
VR Technology and Gaming
Virtual Reality is the focus of future gaming with some of the biggest names in software development paving the way. Xbox, PlayStation, Mac, PC, iOS and Android are all involved in creating devices, games and mobile apps compatible with VR technology. Primarily, Virtual Reality devices include motion sensors, Head Mounted Displays and VR glasses. Of those, VR glasses and motion sensors are being used right now in virtual slots.
There are several VR glasses on today’s market. Modern headsets are sleek and lightweight unlike the first, helmet-like attempts. One of the most successful models is Xbox One’s Oculus Rift which came out in 2015 carrying a heavy price tag of £500. Another is the HTC Vive which comes with motion sensors and speakers and is priced at around £689. Soon available in October 2016, the PlayStation VR Headset is the least expensive option at £349 as it is used in conjunction with the PS3 controller and game system. It will be interesting to see how VR glasses are applied to online casinos in the future. The Rift is already making virtual slots a reality.
The First Virtual Online Casino and VR Glasses
Slots Million opened the first VR casino in 2015 accomplishing what many have tried to do without success. 40 slots designed by Net Entertainment, Microgaming and PlayN’Go are available for gameplay including popular online titles like Gonzo’s Quest, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Jackpot Jester Wild Nudge. The design implements the use of the Oculus Rift VR headset fora wholly immersive visual and audio experience. Slots Million’s virtual casino is also accessible from a desktop (Windows 7 or 8).
Using an Xbox controller or computer keyboard, players can choose an avatar and walk through the glass doors of a classy virtual casino. Walk up to virtual slot machines to take them for a spin, or experience them on a movie screen in a VIP lounge. Extra 3-D animations make the visual experience of the online slots even more delightful. Other players’ avatars can be interacted with allowing people to speak with other slot enthusiasts from around the world.
Is the Future Affordable?
Admittedly, VR headsets are still too expensive to be a common household item. That being said, particularly with PS3 VR headsets, the price is not outside the budget of individuals who already invest in brands like Xbox One and PlayStation. Clearly, if the market is filled with enough buyers who can afford expensive game systems, it stands to reason that if the quality of VR games is high enough, people will buy expensive accessories to attain what they have long dreamed of – virtual reality game experiences.
However, expense of VR headsets may not be the only barrier on the road to VR online casino success. The Oculus Rift requires some heavy duty gaming computer specs with an 8GB RAM, i5-4590, and a NVIDIA GTX 970 or better needed for smooth gameplay. That being said, the success of Slots Million’s VR casino speaks for itself as to what to expect in the future.
The Latest in VR Glasses and Online Slots
Net Entertainment and Microgaming, leaders in the online slot development industry, have recognized the potential of VR technology. NetEnt’s CEO took a bold stand committing future innovative efforts to the application of VR by stating “we are…looking at how we could implement the cutting edge of VR and sound technology to take our products into the future.”
Both Net Entertainment and Microgaming showcased virtual reality slots at the ICE Totally Gaming 2016. Microgaming made a big impression with its exhibition of VR Roulette which utilizes the Oculus Rift headset & Leap Motion Controller. The exhibit won Global Gaming’s 2016 Digital Gaming Innovation of the Year award.
For now, the online casino slot Virtual Reality experience is visual and audio. It will be exciting to see how breakthroughs in VR technology are applied to online slot gaming in the future, perhaps involving the other senses as well.