VR casino gaming is inevitable and will likely alter the dynamics of casino games themselves.
There are already signs that casino games are in need of a revamp – some of them, after all, are hundreds of years old. Meanwhile, the casino giants of Las Vegas have noticed that while more visitors are coming to Sin City than ever before, fewer are coming to gamble. Instead, they come for the restaurants and nightclubs, and yes, some of them even come for the giant Ferris wheel.
Millennials, reared on Halo and World of Warcraft and Grand Theft Auto, have little appetite for the gaming floor, and that means that the gaming floor is ripe for innovation.
Last year the State of Nevada changed its gambling laws to allow for variable payouts on its slot machines. Previously, payouts were required to remain constant, which ensured the fairness of the games, meaning that each gambler had an equal chance to win. The new rules have paved the way for the introduction of slots with skill-based elements, a hybrid of gambling machines and video games designed to appeal to the esports crowd.
The reimagining of casino gaming began, of course, with social casino gaming. Social gaming understands that its players are a different demographic from real-money gamblers, and that they are far more interested in “beating” the game – in unlocking levels and attaining rewards – than the risk-based thrill experienced by traditional gamblers.
The intrinsic simplicity and familiarity of casino games with people across the globe means, however, they should not be ignored by VR developers who are looking for that “killer app.” It’s just that we need to rethink casino gaming and repackage it for the Millennial generation and beyond.
VR casinos, as with all VR projects, should be created with VR in mind, and that means building new games and experiences designed specifically for the new medium, rather than merely converting games that have been successful in other formats. How will an in-app purchase work in VR, for example? And advertising? Obviously, pop-up video ads will be an irritating distraction from the immersive experience, and developers will need to find ads natively incorporated into games using 3D objects that go with the theme of the experience.
Most importantly the games will become a necessary ramped-up hybrid of multi-player casino gaming, skill-based video gaming and social gaming. Of the traditional gambling games, poker, as the most social of casino games, will work best in VR, but there is room for the introduction of hugely popular multi-player skill-based card games like Magic: The Gathering and Hearthstone, as well as chess and even board games. Oculus just gave us a glimpse of their latest Dragon Front card-based tabletop VR game.
SlotsMillion, which may have created the very first real-money fully-immersive VR casino, believes that virtual reality could ultimately provide the elusive “missing link” between social casino and real-money casino players, synthesizing these two separate demographics, as the lines between casino video and social games become increasingly blurred.
But when is this all going to happen?
Should the casino giants be plowing millions into VR, so we can experience the delights of the Vegas Strip without ever leaving the house? Well, that would be cool, but maybe not yet. “I don’t think we’re going to see a rise of virtual reality and virtual reality in gaming next year,” Alexandre Tomic, SlotsMilllion co-founder told CalvinAyre.com recently. “I don’t even think it’s going to come in 2017. As Mark Zuckerberg said, he believes in it but it’s maybe, five, ten years so there is no rush to invest in it, but you really have to watch it like milk on fire.”
One of the key features of the VR revolution is the probability that, in the future, consumers and staff will one day share the same virtual space. Casino staff, tasked with ensuring the smooth running of the games, will actually spend more time in casino than the players, and this will make customer service more effective, building a stronger bond between the operator and its customers.
Just as the internet has had a profound effect on the way we interact in the workplace, it is predicted that VR will have a similarly revolutionary effect on our lives, and that a significant portion of the world’s population will one day spend their working hours inside the VR world.
Thus, the playground of the consumers will become the workplace of the industry; a place where operators can meet suppliers, partners and clients, and affiliates can physically bring players.
We are no longer talking about merely a gaming platform, but looking at a completely revolutionary new way to do business.