Source: Oculus Rift via Facebook
There is no denying that virtual reality got off to an extremely slow start. 2016 was supposed to be the year in which the new platform really took off, but it ended up being a damp squib and only generated $6.1 billion worldwide. However, the technology is projected to spike massively in 2022, and the online casino industry could be a major contributor to that rise. By that time, a fully immersive online casino experience is certainly not out of the question.
The gambling industry has long been at the forefront of technological advancements, and the rise of the internet helped move the sector along rapidly. Online casinos began cropping up, and the sites tried to offer players a similar experience to what they would find in land-based gambling houses. Party Casino has been around since 1997, and is one site which has evolved greatly over time. Party Casino make their own in-house slot games, but they also have live dealer casino games which bring real-life action to the player in their home. These live streams have become incredibly popular because they offer the feel of being in a real casino. Now, developers are desperately scrambling to work out ways to enhance this even more.
Microgaming has come closest so far with its VR Roulette game, which actually allows players to stand in front of a virtual roulette wheel. They can physically place their chips on the table as they would in the casino, and then watch the wheel as the ball spins around. The game was made available for preview at the International Casino Expo of 2016, and was met with highly positive feedback from those who tested it. Testers praised the game for the way it immersed them in the action and made them feel as though they were actually standing at a roulette wheel.
While VR Roulette is a good idea which would doubtlessly be successful, the platform is not yet mainstream enough for games like this to be rolled out on a large scale. The current generation of the Oculus Rift retails at $349, but a lot of potential consumers are still priced out at that level. As future generations are released and the older platforms reduce in price, society will steadily move towards a mass adoption of VR just as it did with smartphones. When it gets to this stage, VR Roulette may be seen at a higher number of online casinos.
If VR Roulette does turn out to be a success, other developers may be inspired to create their own VR casino games. This would point the industry in the direction of going fully immersive, where players are actually able to walk around in virtual casinos. It does seem as though this is the direction that online casinos are heading in, as they have always been quick to adapt to introductions of new technology throughout history. The question is, once they have become fully immersive, where could they possibly go from there?