Within the past couple of years, virtual reality has well and truly taken the world by storm with more and more people rocking VR headsets, and increasing developments in technology mean that it isn’t going away anytime soon.
Let’s start by asking, what exactly is a virtual reality? Put simply, VR is computer technology which simulates a real world through a headset or helmet. It uses computer generated images, LED screens, motion sensors and a surround sound system to block out the outside world and truly assimilate you into the virtual reality.
This technology enhances a range of experiences the user can have, from watching movies to playing video games.
The origins of virtual reality spawned all the way back in the 1930s when author Stanley G. Weinbaum envisioned a Google-based headset which gave the user holographic experiences so hyper realistic that they even replicated smell and touch, in his short story called Pygmalion’s Spectacles.
It wasn’t until the 1960s when this was brought closer to reality with Ivann Sutherland and Bob Sproull’s invention of the world’s first VR headset, The Sword of Damocles. The technology was primitive: the enormous device was mounted to the ceiling and was so heavy that one man alone could not support its weight.
It was designed to help helicopter pilots land at night and used low-light cameras in synchronization with head motions to track the user’s eyes and head position. Thirty years later when the 1990s came along, Nintendo released their own headset – Virtual Boy, which was the start of VR entering the public sphere.
However, the technology didn’t take off until 2014, when Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg bought VR company Oculus Rift for $2bn. This triggered the mass VR trend in 2016 when headsets took over the market, turning them into the must-have tech product they are today.
Virtual reality is now bringing immersive, groundbreaking experiences to us right in front of our very eyes. Just one quick search online will bring up hundreds of 360-degree videos to enjoy on a VR headset and almost scarily realistic video games to play. VR headsets open up a world of possibilities; turn your headset into your own personal movie theatre where images are scaled to realistic size to make it look as though you were stood right there in the scene.
Use it to see new places around the world as 360º videos become increasingly popular. Put on your headset and let it take you to the Colosseum, see the great Pyramids, or explore the ocean all from the comfort of your sofa by using mobile apps which are designed to give you realistic travel experiences without having to for an expensive trip.
You can try your hand at creating some VR content yourself by investing in a 360º camera such as the Samsung Gear 360, which you can use to film your own trips and experiences and relive all over again as a realistic memory bank. Of course, the real giant of the VR world is the diverse range of games now available.
Step straight into an action or horror game and feel the adrenaline pumping as you are fully immersed in the scene, or play cooperatively with friends to complete the game. Now, virtual reality is bringing a wealth of interactive experiences to a wider audience as virtual reality trickles into almost every industry.
Therefore, it is no surprise that virtual reality is taking the casino industry by storm. Online casinos are changing, and VR can now take you into an immersive and interactive experience which won’t require you to fork out thousands for that trip to Las Vegas.
Virtual reality casinos plan to take the best parts of on-land casinos and transport them to the digital world, connecting you to other players and spectacular games directly from the comfort of your own home. But what exactly will VR casinos provide, and how different are they from regular online casinos? Let’s dive right in and find out.
Firstly, the overall aim of VR casinos is to make users feel fully immersed in the games they play. This goes further than a 360 view across the virtual room – players can walk across the casino floor into different games rooms.
Players can even interact with others across the world in real time by going up to the virtual bar (where you can even order a drink, or spark up a cigar!) to meet with other players and chat with them as if you were in the same room as them, even with integration of hand and body gestures! As technology develops and virtual reality becomes more interactive, social and realistic, they pave the way for VR casinos to be at the forefront of virtual gaming.
Virtual reality casinos also plan to offer a huge range of games, but that will depend on development cycles too. Of course, users can play the casino classics such as poker, blackjack, and roulette, but they also unlock an enormous range of online games that aren’t available in your average on-land casino.
Mobile games are enhanced to high levels with the help of virtual reality, and VR casinos incorporate them into the experience, offering the user games such as Thunderstruck II, Game of Thrones games, and if you’re feeling brave enough, Zombie Survival. VR casinos can enhance your gaming experience way beyond the casino floor and transport you into your own adventure.
One of the most advanced and impressive features of virtual reality casinos will be when they start being able to take the immersive realism aspect one step further and incorporate the use of live dealer casino tables, which are already very popular at online casinos.
These live dealer tables bring together online and real-life casino experiences to give their players an authentic, next-level casino experience to make you feel as if you were stood on the floor of a real Las Vegas casino. Using the latest technology, this live dealer feature works by using HD quality video camera angles in games such as roulette which provide the user with a hyper realistic gaming experience.
Once VR headsets become able to receive and process live streamed content seamlessly, we can expect casinos to jump on board and offer VR live dealer games as soon as possible.
With so many VR headset options on the market now, anyone can join in with the VR casino mania: All you need to access the basic technology is a smartphone and a VR headset.
There are options to suit any budget: Google Cardboard provides a headset for the budget-minded user to dip their toe into the pool of Virtual Reality (or if you’re feeling creative, you can build your very own).
Samsung VR headsets are taking the VR world by storm with their devices being some of the most popular on the market while remaining at very reasonable prices. For those of you looking for much higher-end, top quality VR headset devices, then maybe the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive is for you.
Virtual Reality is advancing rapidly. With new technologies entering the market, more and more industries are embracing it meaning that it is well and truly here to stay. VR has taken the world by storm and it’s no wonder everyone is climbing on board. VR casinos are an example of an industry bringing more to the table by providing more accessible and diverse options to enrich the user’s playing experience using the latest technologies and responding to user’s wants and needs.