Virtual reality has evolved in amazing ways since 2014. Back then we were hearing bits and pieces of news about gadgets like the Oculus Rift, and there were plenty of bold predictions about virtual reality coming around the corner to change the nature of home entertainment.
We’d heard all that before (most notably with regard to a little disaster known as 3D television), but VR did in fact arrive. Though it’s not radically shifting the entertainment landscape just yet, it’s already had a significant impact.
Focusing solely on gaming, this impact is has been widespread. VR is so immersive it can trick people into feeling invisible, so it’s proving capable of bringing games to life in an incredibly realistic manner. It’s opening new doors for multiplayer competition, introducing us to established open world concepts in new ways, and even facilitating the continued rise of creative games like Tiltbrush and Minecraft. But some of VR’s greatest impact in gaming might be in helping casino gaming to return to the U.S. on a broad scale.
Gamers who gravitate toward this genre have grown used to more immersive experiences online. Whether you’re playing legally for real money or just playing for fun, online casinos offer certain advantages over the “real” thing. Features typically include better variety and visuals, as well as more diverse user experiences that provide more options than you get in a brick-and-mortar casino.
More specifically, some online casinos now offer video feeds to real casinos so that players can enjoy an approximation of virtual reality. Fans are able to choose the games they want and enjoy a professional environment all from the comfort and security of a computer screen.
But this level of comfort and convenience is likely nothing next to what VR can and will offer. There have been some early examples of virtual reality casino games, but no developer has swung for the fences just yet with a comprehensive, high quality game. Even without such a game, however, the market for casino activity is expected to grow in the U.S. despite legal restrictions. Increased popularity of gambling apps and social gambling are expected to propel the growth of the market in the next four or five years. Throw in VR, and we could see a boom in casino gaming activity.
The interesting thing will be to see if developers working with this type of gaming will ultimately try to move real money models to virtual reality in the United States, or whether they’ll stick with free-to-play games. There’s a solid argument for the spread of free-to-play casino apps on VR, in that they don’t just come without financial risk, but they could actually wind up helping people to be more careful about real money gaming when the opportunity arises.
One way or the other, VR casinos look poised to making this style of gaming very popular in the U.S. once more.