Oculus Rift continues to impress with the Rift VR headset and other devices, and Microgaming is already prepared to take advantage. Virtual reality has been a target for the tech industry for decades. If you look back as far as 1982 and the movie Tron, you can see that this type of environment was on the mind of innovators even then, and even though the film was skipped over for an Oscar because it was thought the high level (at the time) of graphics was effectively cheating, the idea of playing games from the first person perspective has been one of the main fixations of the virtual reality concept for the public ever since.
The Parallel Progression of Online Gambling
While VR has been pressing forward, there has been a parallel series of advances in the online gambling industry. In the mid-1990s, a combination of widely available Internet connections and personal computers allowed for the creation of the first online casino, and the company Microgaming was there to develop the software for it. Less than a decade later, they were among the first to push hard in the mobile sector, which is still the fastest-growing segment of the industry as a whole. They have always been on the cutting edge of the industry from the software side, so it’s no surprise that they already have a virtual reality product ready to go.
The Intersection of the Two Industries
The International Casino Expo, known as ICE for short, is the largest trade show for gambling in the world. Over the past two instances of ICE, Microgaming has been showing off what will likely become the future of gambling, and that’s a virtual reality version of roulette. This game takes place in space and features a robot-style croupier to handle bets and spinning of the roulette wheel. While some online casinos, SlotsMillion in particular, already have VR products that allow players to make their way through a virtual casino and play a normal suite of games, Microgaming is the first to really push for actual games that use VR technologies.
With that having been said, this roulette game hasn’t come fully to market quite yet, and a big part of that is the simple fact that VR technologies haven’t become all that popular just yet. There are a number of VR options today other than the pricey newer models of Oculus Rift, and while many of them rely on smartphone that users already have, they haven’t quite caught on the mainstream. Once they do, however, Microgaming will definitely be poised to take over the market, which is a strategy they have used previously with mobile games and are currently using with other wearable technology.
Commonalities With Wearable Technology
As we’ve mentioned before, Microgaming is very persistent about being the first to really push for online gambling opportunities using new technologies. The smartwatch is a good example of the precarious position they put themselves in when a new technology is available but not quite popular enough for a full-fledged set of releases. They’ve developed a special version of their Thunderstruck slot, one of their original titles and one of the most popular games they’ve ever released, for smartwatches. However, the smartwatch (and other similar wearable technology) hasn’t quite taken off yet.
In the case of the smartwatch, there are similarities and differences with their virtual reality products. What’s similar is that they’re currently sitting in an interesting position where the technology isn’t popular enough to justify investing the money and resources for a much wider selection of games. However, they’re also the company that has invested the most so far, so they have a definite head start on the competition when it comes time to push forward.
What’s largely different between virtual reality and smartwatch technologies is that the virtual reality interface itself is much more friendly for traditional styles of gambling because the smartwatch suffers from a severe lack of screen real estate. What’s more is that virtual reality seems to have more utility than smartwatches for the average person, and that’s what allowed Microgaming the market to work with in terms of personal computers and later mobile devices.
What Happens Next?
What happens next is that Microgaming will continue to prepare their virtual reality offering, which has already been shown to work with less expensive virtual reality setups than the newest selection from Oculus Rift. Along these lines, as soon as the market starts opening up a bit, which will be inevitable when prices come down for these technologies, Microgaming will be the first to get in and take players on a virtual reality ride to roulette tables in space and beyond. The flexibility of this platform plays right into the strengths of Microgaming, and it will give them yet another opportunity to illustrate why they are widely considered to be the top developer in the online casino software industry.