The Gradual Development of VR Casino Sites
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Virtual reality (VR) appeared to be on the cusp of breaking out, but the March 2016 debut of the Oculus Rift headset came and went without the concept cracking the mass-market.
Sales figures don’t indicate a strong start for VR headset sales and it has taken time for the numbers to surpass the one-million mark.
Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped some of the world’s leading iGaming developers from tentatively exploring the concept of VR casino sites.
At present, the progress has been slow, but this could be due to the developers being wary of pledging large quantities of resources to a concept that might never take off.
NetEnt to Launch Gonzo’s Quest VR
Mobile gaming, live casinos, branded slots… NetEnt has masterminded all of these online casino innovations in the early days of the 21st century.
Next up for the Swedish-based company is to devise a way of making video slots and casino games work on VR headsets.
And it would appear that NetEnt has made strides in this area, based on the company’s presentation at ICE Totally Gaming 2018. At the conference, NetEnt showed off its popular Gonzo’s Quest slot running on a VR headset.
In 2016, after announcing plans for users to play at VR casinos online, NetEnt will finally be ready to release the technology from summer 2018.
Users will then be able to embark on a quest with Gonzo to find El Dorado; only this time the adventure will take place in immersive 3D surroundings.
From a technology standpoint, NetEnt has made the VR casino concept accessible by ensuring users can play from an HTML5 web browser.
After signing in to an online VR casino, users can then seek out Gonzo’s Quest on their desktop of mobile device. All they have to do next is activate the VR tab and plug in a compatible headset.
Microgaming Pioneers VR Roulette
Microgaming’s announced intention to develop VR casino content preceded that of NetEnt. In March 2015, Microgaming stated plans to pursue VR development alongside further innovations, including augmented reality (AR) and wearable technology.
The Mobile World Congress 2015 marked the first reveal of Microgaming’s VR development efforts.
One fortunate gamer was given the opportunity to wear an Oculus Rift headset that was used to play VR roulette.
Further displays were made at conferences during 2016, but Microgaming went quiet after that. In the 2015 and 2016 demo videos, Microgaming indicated that the company was in position to quickly deploy content, but also spoke of needing the time to be right.
Some online casino blogs have speculated that Microgaming VR slots are in development, but there has been little solid evidence to work from. Most of the time, the bloggers draw titbits from development blogs in the hope of striking gold with their VR casino predictions.
The Challenges Facing VR Casinos
VR technology holds incredible potential that would be truly ground-breaking for online casinos.
However, it will not become widely relevant unless developers like NetEnt and Microgaming are convinced that the technology is anything more than a niche market.
Thus far, there have been a number of challenges for VR casinos to address, and more are certain to follow. Here is a roundup of the main challenges facing the rise of VR online casinos:
• VR headset cost: a standard Oculus Rift headset could cost you in the region of €400 if you purchase one brand new. This is much more expensive than the AR approach of adding a cardboard viewing attachment to a smartphone.
• Advanced device needed: you will also need a PC or laptop capable of operating the VR headset. In many cases, users have had to buy a new device or perform significant costly updates to prepare their existing device for VR.
• VR lacking mainstream success: online casinos are a more niche form of gaming compared to computer games, and even they have struggled for mainstream success. As a result, casino developers are tentative to perform a full rollout.
• Convincing casino operators: mobile and live upgrades both required significant investment from casino operators. Now they are faced with having to consider another costly upgrade that is not yet proven to be financially viable.
• VR casino games: Microgaming has come up with VR roulette, while NetEnt VR slots is a focus for the Swedish developer. In either case, there aren’t enough games to compete with even small ranges of live dealer content.
• False prophets: some casinos proclaim to offer VR, but the current experience is little more than a lobby that is more aptly described as AR.
Although technology can immense potential for online casinos and gambling sites, there is never a guarantee of success. VR casino sites haven’t immediately started to emerge.
Then again, it also took time for mobile casinos and live casinos. In the meantime, you can stay current with all the latest happenings by sticking around at Gambipedia.com.
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