Posted in Casino Reviews, Guides, Industry June 19, 2017
NetEnt & Microgaming Take the Lead in Developing VR-Enabled Casino Games
In the last few years, the casino and internet gambling industry has been bombarded with talks about new trends and technologies that are set to change the way customers and players see casino entertainment. After the incredible development of mobile gambling and live casino, the chatter in the last few months turned to virtual reality and augmented reality. The insider belief was that virtual and augmented realities will re-shape the online casino industry, and redefine the way customers enjoy casino games.
True enough, games that are anchored on augmented reality started flooding the market last year, including the hugely successful ‘Pokemon Go’. This free smart phone game topped the most downloaded charts in 2016, and change the way casual players and enthusiasts play the apps. Instead of simply sitting down or staying in a corner, Pokemon Go unleashed a torrent of activities, with some players scouring the public parks, and some hitting the beaches. All these were done to capture the fun Pokemon monsters, based on the Japanese cartoon series. But it is not just AR that is changing the way games are designed and played. Virtual reality is another technology that is tested, and now officially making its way to online casino games and entertainment.
What Makes VR Different from Other Casino Technologies?
Both AR and VR offers that unimaginable ability to change a player’s perception of their surroundings. Although both technologies may appear similar, there is a difference between the two. In short, VR is a simulation of another world where the player enters and take part of the narrative. To enjoy the technology and the games, one must use a VR-approved helmet which are now sold in the market. Once the helmet or headgear is used, the player can now enjoy an immersive playing experience. Today, the technology including the helmet is available in the market, and software providers are now testing, or for some, offering VR-enabled casino games. Two popular software developers that are taking the lead in providing VR for online casino environment are Microgaming and NetEnt.
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Virtual Reality in Casinos – Roulette for Microgaming, Slots for NetEnt
One of the first developers to tap into VR is Microgaming, and the company has tapped the technology for its roulette game. The technology and the game was first shown by Microgaming at the ICE Totally Gaming 2016, and it was demonstrated to the general public and critics. For demonstration purposes, the game was housed in a modern and highly futuristic CRYO laboratory. To enjoy the game, a player will have to use a headset, like the Oculus Rift DK 2 headset that comes with the Leap Motion 3D Controller that can help monitor the movement of the hands, and project the movements in 3D. When playing the VR Roulette, the player will appear to take a seat at the table. Through this technology, players can see their hands as they reach in front of the table to place the bets. In front of the table is a robot croupier. While in the VR environment, the player can observe how the wheel turns, or check the payouts that are dispensed.
NetEnt on the other hand invested in a new-generation slot game called Gonzo’s Quest. Although this title has been around for some time, NetEnt tweaked the game to incorporate the VR technology. With the release of this title during the first quarter of 2017, NetEnt made history as one of the first companies to offer VR-enabled slot games. This also makes the updated Gonzo’s Quest as the first slot machine that runs on VR. This means that when playing the game, the player can accompany the famed explorer on the journey of discovery and exploration of the Amazon Jungles. This new game from NetEnt comes with its Web VR plug-in, a component that allows the content to be shown on the web browsers, and not through downloaded applications. When asked to comment on this new trend for Netent, Per Eriksson of NetEnt shared that the virtual reality technology is the future of casino gambling, and this was part of the company’s commitment. He also shared that this is not just a milestone for the company, but also an achievement for the industry in general.
Virtual reality as a technology is here to stay, and will be showcased in different casino games in the next few months. With the commercial release of VR headsets and the announcements from Microgaming and NetEnt, players and enthusiasts can count on a changed casino environment. The release of NetEnt’s Gonzo’s Quest and Microgaming’s VR Roulette is just the start of an exciting time for casino play and entertainment. Once the technology has become mainstream, casino play and entertainment becomes more immersive, fun and more memorable.