According to a recent study posted on PR Newswire, virtual reality within the global gaming market is expected to grow at a “compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.97% between 2015 and 2019”. Combine these figures with the fact that many leading hardware manufacturers such as Sony, Samsung and Oculus have announced the production and commercial release of virtual reality gaming hardware throughout 2016 and beyond, and the advent of these virtual reality headsets could soon revolutionise modern global gaming practices.
Many gamers were first introduced to the concept of virtual reality headsets via the commercial release of the Google Glass prototype. This innovative headset could be worn like a pair of glasses and enabled wearers to connect to the Internet and enjoy a smart-phone format via voice commands. Although Google stopped producing this Google Glass prototype in January 2015, it paved the way for other hardware manufacturers to develop and release their own headsets.
As a result, many leading hardware manufacturers have announced the commercial release of their own virtual reality technologies in 2016; including the PlayStation VR, a virtual reality headset for Sony’s PlayStation 4 console, the GearVR, a hands-free headset through which you can play games and apps for Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smart phones, and the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality head-mounted display due for release in March 2016 which is expected to host a broad spectrum of gaming, media and social applications.
But what does this virtual reality phenomenon mean for the casino industry? As matter stand, players have the ability to play all manner of table games and slot machines either by visiting a local casino establishment or via online gambling sites and mobile applications. The introduction of virtual reality gaming hardware would open up a new micro-gaming gambling avenue. Often referred to as ‘Glass Betting’ in reference to the Google Glass wearable virtual reality headsets, players would be able to sit at a virtual roulette, blackjack, baccarat or poker table of their choosing and witness their own hand pick up chips and place bets while a digitised dealer would call the bets and generate the results. In this manner, players would be able to experience an immersive gambling experience from the comfort of their own home!
Currently, this virtual gaming technology is still in the development stage and the options on offer, such as the virtual reality gaming app which has been designed for Google Cardboard, are not playable for real money. Moreover, the range of games on offer are still somewhat limited; unlike the vast array of slot machines and table games available via smart phone and tablet gaming apps. As online gambling organisation Wink Bingo explain; “Operators that value and care about what their players want to do everything they can to keep up with popular trends and make sure that their sites have just about every type of game imaginable”.
Consequently, at the moment, online gambling sites and mobile apps still dominate the casino industry, due to the fact that virtual reality gaming hardware remains limited in the range of choice that it can offer players. However, if these virtual reality gaming hardware manufacturers are able to devise real money gaming apps and a casino catalogue similar to modern day online gambling sites, then virtual reality technology could look set to revolutionise how we play games forever. Only time will tell!