Virtual reality developers
ignoring obvious need for VR casino table games, not slot machines.
Supply and demand is a tricky business when it comes to emerging technologies. Who’s to say what people will like most about a digital product they’ve never really tried before. When it comes to such innovations, developers generally prefer to take the safe route, delivering something that’s proven popular with consumers in the past.
Unfortunately, this is the path that has led us to a growing
assortment of virtual reality (VR) slot machines, with
negligible progress in the way of VR table games. Yes, those
slot machines are popular. Players spend much more time and money on
these games than anything else in a live or online casino. But VR and
slots just don’t meld well.
VR Slot Machines a Bust?
I’m sure there are some people out there – the ones with the most expensive, high-tech headsets and a genuine passion for slot machines – that enjoy having access to VR video slots. But I’ve played these games myself, as have many people I know, and most of us agree that the experience isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
At first, the panoramic VR design and 3D graphics are stunning. They really are, don’t get me wrong. It’s a unique way to play the games, but one where the novelty tends to wear down quickly.
In order to make the VR scene more immersive, the game tends to take
up more space than you can view without turning your head. As such,
you’re constantly looking around to see what’s landed where, and if
you’ve won anything. Again – fun at first, but it quickly gets
It’s not because you’re having to move your head that sucks the fun out of it. It’s because this isn’t what a real slot machine experience is like. It is not what we’re used to. And while I understand developers are trying to innovate a product and make it newer, better, more intriguing, etc., I honestly feel it takes away from the experience, rather than adding to it.
In a real casino, we sit in front of a machine, press buttons and
hope for the best. The graphics are already awesome, and the story
lines and features immersive enough to capture our attention. An
online casino, whether played on a desktop computer or handheld
mobile device, already offers this exact same experience. VR isn’t
improving upon it in any long-lastingly enjoyable way.
VR Casino Table Games
Table games are a whole different breed of gambling entertainment. As
players, we expect to navigate a table with our eyes and hands. We’re
used to placing chips, collecting winnings and observing a plethora
of events across the felt. As such, casino table games should
translate very well in a virtual state.
It’s a situation comparable to the popularity of live casino table
games – the online games with real dealers, streamed live to your
computer/mobile. These live casinos have been a huge success for more
than a decade, offering blackjack, baccarat, roulette and other
table-oriented favorites. But they do not offer live slot machines,
for the same obvious reasons listed above. Slots are video-based
machines meant to run on a screen. They simply aren’t suited for a 3D
A few companies are working towards the goal of building VR table
games, but more often, it’s slot machines that get all the attention
of development brands. NetEnt has made several of its most popular
slot machines available in VR, including Starburst, Jack
and the Beanstalk, Dracula and others.
Microgaming built the first VR roulette table back in 2015, famously
debuting the software at ICE Totally Gaming in February 2016.
Audience members were wowed. The media was enthralled. It was said to
be the future of iGaming. But where is that game now? And why, over
the last three years, has such little progress been made in this
There are a few – and do mean very few – virtual reality casino
table games available in today’s online gambling realm. And I know
that the big-name headsets aren’t household items yet, but the
cheaper ones are. They say ‘If you build it, they will come’,
and I have no doubt this is true of VR casinos. Give the masses a
product worth playing, and they will play it.
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