The world has changed drastically over the past decade as new technologies begin to realize all of our childhood fantasies. From faux-hover boards to wearable internet technology, yesterday’s fantasy is today’s reality.
The online casino industry has grown in leaps and bounds, adopting much of the advanced technology that has played such an important role in how we communicate, how we express ourselves, how we have fun and how we live a modern, internet-based lifestyle.
At the start of the online casino industry, the mere fact that virtually anyone around the world could log onto an online casino and play a few games, was in itself quite a minor miracle. Suddenly, thousands of people who could only dream of ever being in a place like Las Vegas, Atlantic City or Monte Carlo, could suddenly be the king of the blackjack table.
While, comparatively speaking, the technology was still fairly primitive by today’s standards, being able to test your luck on a roulette wheel or spin the slots on a ten cent bet from the comfort of your own home was incredible.
Fast forward a decade and a half and now we not only enjoy the best 3D digital casino gaming action, we can even play on your mobile phones. Remember when mobile phones could only send and receive SMS’s? Today’s smartphones are essentially tiny, pocket-sized computers. We can not only send and receive messages, we can check our email, bank online, upload high quality pictures and videos to various social media accounts and much more.
Naturally a number of top online casinos were quite quick to realize that mobile technology was the way of the future and began working on dedicated mobile apps. These mobile apps allowed their users to not only play a range of top casino games including slots and table games, they could also control their banking, take advantage of bonus offers and much more.
The mobile casino revolution became the second biggest single event that would shape the digital casino industry. And, according to most online casino industry experts and directors, the mobile casino industry is set to become the preferred option for most online casino gamblers in the very near future. In fact, a number of top online casino software gaming developers are already ahead of the curve in this regard.
Noted online casino gaming innovator Net Entertainment or NetEnt as it more commonly known as, has already developed a number of expanded digital slots, designed specifically for mobile tablet gaming. These games include expandable reels and a design layout optimized for the landscape view that is popular with tablet users.
Not content with just innovating the mobile casino industry, NetEnt have already turned their attention to another futuristic segment of digital technology, virtual reality. Once the domain of crazy, far-fetched science fiction fantasies in the 70’ and 80’s, virtual reality or ‘VR’ is now taken for granted by most of us.
Interestingly, the new wave of virtual reality technology, has been driven largely by the smartphone industry. Top smartphone brands like Samsung have developed sophisticated head gear intended to be used with most of their range of their new generation smartphones.
Like the internet and mobile technology, virtual reality is now available to just about anyone who is interested in exploring the technology. VR is no longer just in the realm of far-fetched sci-fi movies or exclusively for the incredibly wealthy. If you have a smartphone that is virtual reality ready, and a viewing headset, you can enjoy some VR entertainment. You can even find cheap and simple cardboard headsets that cost only a few dollars and will give you exactly the same experience.
NetEnt have taken the VR ball and run with it, hoping to show the online casino industry just what can still be done to enhance the average online casino user’s online casino gaming experience. For dedicated digital gamers, the use of virtual reality to power games is not really all that new, they’ve been enjoying this experience for quite some time now.
However, the online casino gaming sector seems to have not gotten the memo as far as new gaming technology is concerned. The really well established online casinos seem to be content with the status quo, with the only real shift away from this being the mobile casino gaming sector. Here’s the rub – the online casino industry is still one of the fastest growing sectors on the web, with hundreds of new online casinos opening every month.
At some point, online casinos are going to need to find something more than just great games to separate themselves from the pack. The explosion in the mobile casino gaming market proved that. Something else that online casino bosses need to consider is that quite soon they will have to cater to an entirely new breed of online casino gamer – the so-called millennials.
Millennials are defined as the demographic that pretty much grew up with cutting edge technology such as the internet and smartphones. In fact, it is this generation that are driving the virtual reality gaming market. It then makes perfect sense that the next strategic move for online casinos that want to stay ahead of the curve is to start investing in virtual reality-driven casino gaming.
This is precisely what NetEnt have envisioned and, according to the latest press release from the NetEnt camp, are getting close to fully achieving. Fans of NetEnt games have taken the news with a great deal of excitement. NetEnt slots fans are expecting big things from the software brand which is not all that surprising considering this is the brand that have innovated 3D action and adventure slots for the past few years running.
Even more exciting news is that NetEnt have chosen to use their massively popular 3D adventure slot Gonzo’s Quest as their first virtual reality slot. Anyone that has ever played Gonzo’s Quest, with its innovative falling/tumbling reels and other incredible visual innovations would agree that this slot is the perfect candidate. The structure of the game as well as the visual innovations that occur constantly throughout the game, make it the perfect candidate for the world’s first virtual reality slot game.
NetEnt CEO Per Eriksson made the announcement just before this year’s ICE Gaming Conference in London. Eriksson agrees that the time is right for the next step in the evolution of the online casino with the introduction of a virtual reality version of one of the brand’s most popular real money slots. However, Eriksson did not go as far as giving an actual date of when anyone could expect to see the groundbreaking virtual reality version of Gonzo’s Quest. He did however say that NetEnt believes that the time is right for virtual reality casino games, given the current state of WebVR technology.
Adding some more fuel to the rumor mill, NetEnt and Eriksson teased press conference attendees by speculating that the first working version of the virtual reality slot could be seen at online casinos as early as the end of this year or, at the start of 2018. Of course, all NetEnt online casinos would be able to access the first virtual reality slot and make it available to their players. Eriksson also mentioned that the first NetEnt virtual reality slot would be accessible across all platforms including desktop devices and mobile devices, with Android and Apple (iOS) devices getting first dibs on the technology.
For those of you unfamiliar with the rise of the current WebVR technology, the last year or two has seen quite a dramatic shift in momentum for virtual reality. Top brands such as Oculus Rift, Samsung and HTC have been leading the way in creating accessible and relatively affordable virtual reality products and related apps. Latest news is that Huawei, China’s leading affordable smartphone brand, has also thrown their hat in the VR ring with the release of their own virtual reality head gear and ecosystem.
VR gamers are already playing a range of virtual reality games such as the VR console-based Star Trek: Bridge Crew game, along with massively popular mobile-based VR games like Pokémon Go. In case anyone is wondering if this is just another internet fad, according to a number of top technology analysts, the virtual reality industry is predicted to be worth around $120 billion by the end of this decade. A number of these analysts also believe that virtual reality is not only here to stay, but will play a significant role in reshaping our ideas of digital entertainment, communication and much more in the near future.
Top online casino brands have also begun to sit up and take notice and those that are not already on board with virtual reality casino gaming, may be left behind if they don’t change tack quite soon. NetEnt are more than likely not the only casino software gaming brand to work on a virtual reality casino game, they just happen to be the first to announce the release of one. The race to dominate the virtual reality casino market is most certainly well and truly underway.