Ready or not, virtual reality is here. The infamous Oculus Rift is hitting shelves in the spring of
2016, but the market is already flooded with similar headsets, each one sporting the same ski
mask look. One charmer is a cardboard box fitted with lenses with a slot to slip a smartphone
into. It’s a $20 cardboard box and it holds the power to seal in the 4th wall of entertainment once
and for all.
There are already online casinos out there which are set up for virtual reality. The Occulus Rift
may have red-lined pornography, but gambling is still running strong and showing no signs of
stopping. The question is whether virtual reality gambling will live up to the hopes of all the
gamblers out there.
Land-based gambling has always had some perks that, despite its own advantages, online
gambling could not hold a candle to. For one, gambling in a real-life casino lets people meet up
with friends and even meet other people. Could this happen in virtual reality? The quick answer
is not yet. Even if a casino was recreated for virtual reality complete with a server for multiple
people to log in and play together, this virtual casino would need to be populated with tons of
players. Each of these players would need an avatar inside the casino, and every little movement
the players made would need to be rendered. The processing power just isn’t there to support a
virtual casino as large and busy as the casinos out in the real world.
While technology catches up with the casino dream, players can enjoy a mostly realistic
experience at a gambling table. A croupier, real or virtual, can stand on the other side of the table
leading the game. The players can look around, see other players and what they’re up to, and
watch the game as it progresses. All of this is possible. The only problem is the dreaded uncanny
valley, the place in which game characters look almost real but not quite real enough. The
uncanny valley can be avoided by making characters look fake (like bobble-headed cartoon
characters or talking animals), but it cannot be overcome. The people inside the gambling
simulation can either look like Muppets or very, very creepy people.
Even if it’s not all there yet, virtual reality is an exciting change to online gambling. The
headsets coming out this year and the next create a more immersive, more enjoyable experience
because they bring players closer to the action. The virtual reality dream may be out of reach for
now, but good things are brewing behind online casino doors.
In the meantime, try something similar but still real-life, Silver Oak casino has real human beings dealing live blackjack (amongst other table games). Go check it out.