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Oculus Rift Slot Machines

Oculus Rift Slot MachinesVirtual reality gaming has always been promised by developers for some time now. But while the occasional arcade-style game might offer a rudimentary VR experience, most attempts to bring this concept to the home market – such as Nintendo’s “Virtual Boy – proved to be critical and commercial failures.

But in the past few years, recent advances in technology have brought virtual reality back to the forefront. One of the leading products in this latest wave has been the Oculus Rift, a product that was funded through a Kickstarter campaign in 2012 that raised about $2.5 million. Since that time, a limited number of people have been able to utilize this lightweight and elegant headset in earlier forms, and the first commercial version was released in March 2016.

For the most part, the Oculus Rift has been used for playing video games – sometimes specifically designed for immersive play – and, in a more general sense, to help bring virtual worlds and experiences to those who might not be able to enjoy them otherwise. But could this incredible piece of technology also be used to play slot machines? Incredibly, the answer appears to be yes.

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Truly Virtual Casinos

For some time now, developers have been working on gambling games that could work with the hardware contained in these headsets. One of the most prominent examples is Riftsino, an app that allows you to walk around a casino rendered entirely in 3D. Early versions of this program include blackjack and slots, with players able to use hand, finger, and arm movements to control their play

But while that might have been a nice first step, there was one thing missing from this app: real money play. Thankfully, operators of online gambling sites have begun to see the promise in VR technology and have started to develop their own apps that can be used with the Oculus Rift, a move that aims to give players a much more immersive Internet gaming experience than was ever before possible.

The first company to do so was SlotsMillion, which launched their app in October 2015. At launch, this version of their software came with a total of 40 slot machines, including some by Microgaming and NetEnt. The titles on offer include the following, among others:

  • Gonzo’s Quest
  • Starburst
  • Thunderstruck II
  • Rambo
  • Scarface

But the SlotsMillion VR “resort” is more about the kind of experience you can get by taking advantage of this technology than the games themselves. Players have the opportunities to walk around a bar, meet up with and interact with other gamblers, and walk around the room waiting for their favorite machine to be freed up for them to play. It’s essentially like walking around in a real-world gaming floor – only you can do it right from your home.

The actual gameplay for all of the machines is essentially identical to what you would see if you played at a more traditional online gambling site. However, there’s some extra immersion thrown in, as you’ll be “sitting” at a machine in the simulated world. That means that you can still see beyond the screen where the action is taking place: you can look out at the rows of machines to your left and right, just like you might do at your local brick-and-mortar gaming venue.

The Future of VR Slots

While a simulated casino that allows you freedom of movement is visually impressive, it represents only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what might be possible for slots on the Oculus Rift. What we have seen so far is only the beginning – and a few companies have already begun to experiment with augmented reality-style games that could potentially take advantage of this and similar headsets, such as the Samsung Gear VR or Sony’s Playstation VR.

For instance, both Microgaming and Topgame have been presenting prototypes of VR slots at trade shows over the past year, and it is hard to imagine that many of their competitors aren’t doing the same. The big question isn’t whether or not these products are coming, but just how many players want them, and if they’ll see them as more than a gimmick.

For both operators and gamblers, there are definitely reasons to believe that the answer to that question is yes. Oculus Rift games have the potential to draw in players like nothing before, because they offer an unparalleled experience. Over time, many gamers get tired of the same old thing, and that could be where Internet slot machines are heading. Sure, some games have better graphics than others, but underneath it all, most of these games work exactly the same way.

That means that operators might want these games in order to bring disillusioned players back for another round. They could also be used to target a younger audience, as casinos have had a very difficult time getting millennials to give slots a try. By tying hot new games to a highly-advanced format like VR, they could just have the formula that brings a new generation into the one-armed bandits.

Of course, this is all dependent on the games developed for these headsets being worth playing – gamblers won’t just flock to them (at least in the long term) because they exist. But if virtual reality headset technology becomes popular with mass markets, you can expect to see more and more games designed specifically for them in the next few years.

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