Since their introduction, online casinos have offered a unique gaming experience with plenty of worthwhile benefits. Instead of dressing up and jumping in the car, all players need to do to experience all of their favorite games is boot up their computers and make an account. Convenience is everything in an increasingly digital world. Despite the advantages, there’s always been something extra special about a trip to a brick and mortar casino. Sure, the games are mostly the same and the odds aren’t any better, but the atmosphere on offer makes placing a bet at a roulette table on the Vegas strip or playing blackjack at The Venetian in Macau just a little more memorable. To this point, it may have seemed like the advantage of atmosphere was one that would always be in the brick and mortar corner, but things could be on the verge of a major change.
If you’ve got a TV or computer, you’ve probably found it impossible to ignore the technological sensation that is virtual reality. These high tech headsets utilize high definition video, enveloping sound and haptic control systems to create an artificial reality that engrosses the senses. Companies such as Google, HTC and Oculus VR are leading the charge with advanced devices that can put you in the stands of a political debate or a big football game or transport you to an imaginary world full of wonder and adventure. The rapid advancement of virtual reality in recent months has opened up multiple avenues for development, but few are more promising than the possibility of virtual reality casinos.
Building the VR Casino
Although it’s still new and under constant development, there’s no industry that virtual reality doesn’t have the potential to revolutionize. The Oculus Rift headset is scheduled for release in the coming weeks, but one online gaming company has already set the bar for what an online casino experience in VR could be. After seven months of rigorous development, this company created a casino lobby in the clouds, set on the 80th floor of a skyscraper in the middle of a futuristic cityscape. Players can take their time enjoying the sights by grabbing a seat at the bar or interacting with other players. To capture everything the VR experience has to offer, they can even lean against the windows and get a taste of some serious vertigo.
The pièce de résistance of the VR casino is, of course, the games. Visitors have the option to play any number of immersive 3D slots, which were developed in collaboration with the licensing jurisdiction of Malta. A few key pieces of the regulatory puzzle included clocks that were visible on the walls (unlike real casinos) and privacy regarding wins and losses. Despite the painstaking development, this virtual reality casino currently has no market or customer-base. Its popularity will only be determined as virtual reality becomes more ubiquitous moving forward. The possibilities associated with social casinos, though, are immense.
According to Eilers Research, social casinos are already a major draw in the online casino industry. The market is currently valued at roughly $3.4 billion, and it’s expected to top $4.4 billion as early as next year. While online-only casinos will enjoy some of this growth, land-based casinos are also expected to enter this market.
Virtual Reality Marketing
Imagine taking a stroll through the Bellagio without changing out of your pajamas. Consider checking out the Luxor without booking a plane ticket. These scenarios are likely to be available in the near future as casino operators capitalize on virtual reality as a marketing tool. MGM Resorts has already completed 3D tours of its properties on the Las Vegas strip, but this will likely be little more than a proof of concept when virtual reality headsets join the ranks of smartphones and tablets.
According to some reports, the infrastructure to deliver VR gambling experiences already exists, so it’s well within reach for online casinos to deliver VR versions of their existing slot assets. The trick to successful implementation, however, lies in creating value through the medium. While online casinos already encapsulate the majority of the Las Vegas casino experience, virtual reality could allow them to take it a step further. Industry data insists that casino players don’t gamble to win money, necessarily, but to enjoy the rush. Why not incorporate an element of danger by creating a virtual reality casino set in the 1920s and run by the mafia? How about a life or death slot that lets players risk their cash as they walk across an increasingly narrow plank toward the jackpot? The possibilities are endless.
Another possible advantage of virtual reality gaming lies with skill-based titles. Skill-based games have come into focus in recent years as land-based casino operators struggle to connect with younger gamblers, but virtual reality would take these titles to a new level. Mini games and features within slots are nothing new, but incorporating VR could take the experience to brand new heights. Of course, devising a skill-based system that fits into regulatory restrictions is extremely difficult, as has been shown by Vegas’s ongoing push for these innovative games. However, as demand rises, the gambling industry will likely continue to evolve.
Novelty or Revolution?
One of the biggest crutches of innovation is the utility of technology. Whether virtual reality becomes the next smart phone or the next 3D TV remains to be seen. Will VR outlast the initial novelty factor to become ingrained in the gambling industry, or will it fade away over time? The key to its implementation and shelf life will be the care with which it is offered. Similarly to how some older slots remain more popular than new titles with improved graphics and features, the key to meeting consumer demand is all about developing well thought out experiences that are a joy to play.
While VR gaming is still on the horizon, the latest and greatest in online casino play is available right now at Prism Casino. Load up your favorite titles and enjoy the benefits of the casino industry from the comforts of your own home. With hundreds of games and a healthy supply of deposit bonuses, an awesome night of gaming is always on the menu.