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Virtual Reality Online Gambling: A Fad or The Next Big Thing?

In 1990 the BBC’s hit TV-show Tomorrow’s World embarked on a fact-finding mission to ascertain what impact virtual reality would have in the future.

The presenters, Howard Stableford and Kate Bellingham, discuss how VR was originally intended to be used in Computer Aided Design (CAD).

The pair then don a clunky headset and set themselves up in mock fighter jet cockpits to fly 2D jets to a virtual aircraft carrier.

The whole experience by today’s eyes looks incredibly basic, but at the time it was cutting edge.

Tomorrow’s World – Virtual Reality

The piece ends with the two presenters postulating that VR will go on to become an integral part of video gaming in the future.

Rather understandably, neither Stableford nor Bellingham predict that VR will actually become a key component of the gambling industry, which is nothing to be ashamed of.

Even 5 years ago, it would have seemed somewhat strange to think of VR and gambling going hand in hand.

Yet that is what is beginning to happen with many online poker rooms and casinos turning to VR technology to attract new customers.

In this article we take a look at how VR has moved from a futuristic technology associated with CAD and video games, to one of the many USP’s of online gambling.

If after reading this article you want to check out VR gambling for yourself, follow this link to the find the highest rated casino sites in the UK from ratings collected at OLBG.

VR Gambling… Why?

Since the turn of the Millennium the online gambling industry has been on the rise, skyrocketing in popularity during the 2010s as mobile technology advanced, allowing people to play roulette, poker and baccarat on their phones.

Online gambling’s rise has been worrying for the land-based sector, which fears that the range of games on offer online will dissuade punters from visiting bricks and mortar gambling venues.

The one thing that the land-based sector has always had over its online counterpart though, is the experience of visiting a bustling casino in-person.

This has been a cause of consternation for ambitious online gambling providers who have designs on wrestling away more and more market share from the land-based sector.

Therefore, a number of online gambling companies have invested heavily into VR and AR technology to make visiting an online casino as close to the real thing as possible, thus reducing the reasons that individuals would have to visit their local casino.

Why travel 10 miles to socialise with your friends and play your favourite casino games with some background music under the guidance of a real dealer, when you can do all of that from the comfort of your own home via VR technology?

In short then, wrestling customers from land-based casinos is the primary reason for the growth of VR gambling in recent years.

What Types of VR Gambling are Available?

Virtual Reality is an industry that has had many false dawns. We are all familiar with news reports about how VR is set to revolutionise a certain industry, only to find out that upon its launch no one liked it.

Throughout the years, the technology has either been too clunky and expensive or far too disorientating and poorly designed to be enjoyable. VR gambling falls into neither of these categories.

That isn’t to say that it is necessarily brilliant though as there are a number of issues that need ironing out for it to become as widespread as industry leaders hope. Here’s an overview of what visiting a VR online casino feels like.

Oculus Casino Gambling

In July 2012 Palmer Luckey, Brendan Iribe, Michael Antonov and Nate Mitchell founded Oculus VR in California. The ambition of their company was to produce industry leading head-mounted VR headsets for the mainstream market.

That ambition was given a major boost when the company became a subsidiary of Facebook after a $2.3 billion takeover in 2014. This gave the company the resources to bring their ideas to fruition, leading to the Oculus Rift and Oculus Go headsets.

These headsets were perhaps the first to be able to deliver VR in the way that most of us would imagine. There were no clunky interfaces, disorientating camera movements or poorly designed graphics to put off the sceptics.

Because of that, Oculus has been a massive success with players, generating quarterly revenues of just under $1 billion in the last financial year. If you want to experience the best VR casino experience possible, you will have to do so through an Oculus headset.

VR Casino, an app launched on the platform in 2018 is the most popular of the gambling games available on Oculus. The excellently designed game gives you the closest possible imitation of visiting a bricks and mortar casino, without having to leave your home.

VR Technology is a Fad?

Is VR here to stay or is it a passing fad? That’s no longer a hard question to answer in relation to online gambling. Pun intended, VR is an odds on favourite to continue in use in the years to come.

The Oculus VR headset is the closest that players can get to recreate the true experience of visiting a casino and socialising with friends at the time of writing. However, there are plans in place amongst some of the industry’s biggest names to make that type of experience more widely available.

Land-based casinos that are currently feeling the economic pinch of empty poker rooms would do well to take advantage of this technological trend.

In opening up their venues to VR, land-based casinos could remain relevant and stave off the advances of the online sector.

Only time will tell if that will happen though, all that we can do as consumers is enjoy the fruits of this technological arms race between the two warring factions of the gambling industry.

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