VR Casinos – Welcome to the Evolution of Online Casinos
Virtual reality (VR) casinos are about to change the online casino industry forever. VR technology heralds a new beginning, one that’s immersive, interactive and revolutionary.
And the VR casinos are confident that online gamblers will one day (soonish) shun the old-style 2D and 3D play (and, yes, 3D is nearly old school) for virtual reality play.
I know that some of you won’t believe that it’s coming and that it’s here to stay, but it is. Every new technology arrives with cries of, “It’ll never work”, “It’s impossible – the batteries don’t last long enough; it’s too big, too heavy, too wide”.
It’s always the same story. We ridicule the early adopters until the technology takes off and the people who ridiculed it start to lap it up, pretending they always knew it would work. “I bought shares years ago, don’t you know?”
Anyway, in this blog, we’re going to give you the ins and outs of VR casinos.
What Are VR Casinos?
VR casinos use immersion technology to bring you a life-like casino experience. With a VR headset, you’ll find yourself in the middle of a casino with a 360o view of the place.
What Technology Do You Need to Play VR Casino Games?
To play the VR casino games, you need a computer and a VR headset.
- Generally, any computer with an operating system above Windows 8.1 is ideal.
- A graphics cards: NVidia 1060 and higher, or AMD 480 and higher
- Processor: Intel Core i5-4590 and higher, or AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and higher
- Memory: 8gb RAM or higher
- Video Output: HDMI 1.3
- Input: 3 USB 3.0 ports (one for each hand controller and one for the headset) and 1 USB 2.0 (for the earphones)
Tethered headsets are the best option in terms of quality and play. Tethered means they plug into the computer and this allows the computer, rather than the headset, to do the hard work.
The other two options are mobile headsets (where you place your phone in a headset and watch it) and standalone headsets (where the technology is contained in the headset). Neither mobile nor standalone headsets currently have sufficient power to run an online VR casino – at least not if you want to get the full VR experience that the tethered VR headsets offer.
In other words, a tethered headset, such as Oculus Rift or HTC Vive Cosmos, is best because they allow the computer to handle the processing. You’ll get a much smoother picture, with better visuals and more immersive experience, using a tethered headset. We recommend that you check with the VR casino before buying your headsets to make sure it’s compatible with their software.
What Does It Feel Like to Play the VR Casinos?
VR casinos are immersive and interactive. It won’t feel like real life exactly, but it will feel more lifelike than playing with an old-fashioned online casino.
You’ll be able to:
- Wander through the casino, around the tables, and past the slot machines
- Interact with other players, dealers, and staff (I nearly said bar staff then, but of course the technology isn’t there to serve you drinks…yet. Give it a hundred years or so)
- Pick your seat at the table (as long as it’s empty – etiquette doesn’t go out the window and you can’t just shove other players off their seats or sit in their laps)
- Make body and hand gestures – e.g. you’ll be able to tell the dealer to give you another card or tell the dealer where to go if they give you a dud card. (This brings up an interesting point: will they kick you out/off if you’re rude to the dealer? I think yes because the online casinos kick you out for being rude in the chat).
- A high-spec rendering of the game rooms
- Slot machines and games tables, including fine detail, e.g., the cards on the poker table, the slots on the slot machines
- Other real-life players sitting around the tables or watching the slot machines
VR technology is in its infancy so don’t expect it to feel exactly like real life. There are still a lot of things missing. E.g., you don’t get the full-body experience yet – if you bump into a table, it won’t hurt. VR suits are surely on their way but not yet.
In 50 years, they’ll look back at our idea of “life-like” and laugh. The same way we might laugh at 8-bit graphics (or not, depends whether you’re a hipster). But for us, in the present day, VR is state-of-art technology.
How Much Can You Win at the VR Casinos?
In principle, there’s no reason why you can’t win the same amount of money on a VR casino compared with a traditional online casino. But it’s still incredibly expensive to set up VR casinos, so whilst the technology is still relatively new, the prizes may be smaller and entry fees (e.g. for poker tournaments) may be higher.
As always, the prizes are down to the size of the casino, their profits, and the number of players in a game. But as VR technology becomes increasingly popular, the cost in setting up and maintaining a VR casino will come down, and the prizes will go up.
It’s just a matter of time.
To find out how much you can win, you need to check with the VR casinos. So…
…Which Casinos Offer the Virtual Experience?
There are two types of online casino: real-money casinos and just-for-fun casinos. The first type allows you to play with and win real money. The second type is for entertainment only – there may be things you can pay for (e.g. extra spins), but you can’t win real money.
Just-for-fun VR Casinos
Who cares about the just-for-fun casinos?
WE DO! And it’s all thanks to our favourite VR casino, PokerStars VR. So here’s a quick review of the best just-for-fun online VR casino.
With a 9/10 rating on Steam, gamers clearly love PokerStars VR.
PokerStars VR requires Windows 10 or higher, but the rest of the specs you need are the same as we listed above in the “Computer Specs” section.
Compatible with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
Download from Oculus Store, Steam or Viveport.
From the name, you’ve surely worked out that Pokerstars VR’s main focus is poker. And, you’re correct. They offer players a free play, fully immersive, live poker experience. That means that you can enter the world of online virtual reality and play poker in real-time with real players.
It’s an experience that comes closest to the real thing than anything that’s come before. Find a table, settle in and play as you would in a real casino: handling your cards and chips, interacting with your dealer and opponents, and studying other people’s behaviour for tells.
- Free to play with free chips every day
- In-game chip purchases
- Play real opponents
- Hold’em ring games
- Sit & Go tournaments
- Leader Boards
- Private tables
- Quality visuals with fine details and different settings (e.g. Macau 2050 and Galaxy Space Statin
- Interactive environment
Here’s a taste of play just for you:ARVE Error: Mode: lazyload not available (ARVE Pro not active?), switching to normal mode
Real Money Virtual Casinos
But we know some of you will want to play for real money, so here goes…
Virtual Reality Casino Games vs Virtual Casino Games
It’s harder than it should be to find a virtual reality casino. This is because there are both virtual casino games and virtual reality casino games and Google returns both types of casino when you search for VR casinos.
You have to wade through the search results to find the genuine VR casinos.
Virtual Casino Games
The keyword is “reality”. Virtual casino games refer to live games where you join a table with live dealers and participants. An actual human takes your bets and deals the cards. They’re often streaming live from a real-world casino.
Occasionally, casinos refer to computer-animated table games as “virtual casino games” too. Here, the animation isn’t a real person, but is extremely advanced (doesn’t necessarily look it) and talks to you about the play the same way a real-life dealer would.
Virtual REALITY Casino Games
This is the important one in this article. Here, you wear the VR headset (e.g. Oculus Rift) and immerse yourself in the casino experience.
Touted as the first VR casino “that allows you to play for real money”, SlotsMillions gives you access to more than 40 VR slots.
To play, you need to download their app. Then, you can access the casino via your Oculus Rift headset or on your desktop (which doesn’t give you the full VR experience). Play on Windows 8 or higher. Use keyboard or gamepad
Advice: this is the only virtual reality casino licenced in the UK. Therefore, if you’re in the UK, this would be our recommendation if you want to try out the VR casinos.ARVE Error: Mode: lazyload not available (ARVE Pro not active?), switching to normal mode
You’ll find VR versions of some of the most popular online slots, including:
- Tower Quest
- Foxin Wins
- Gorilla Go Wild
- Miss Midas
- Electric Sam
- Taco Brothers
- Jack Hammer 2
As the name suggests, PokerVR is a place for playing virtual reality poker. Most of the games are just-for-fun, so you won’t be winning much money, if any.
However, they do have some cash games and they run a poker VR championship with a top prize of $2000. The next tournament is the 21st October 2020 and qualifiers run each weekend in September. It’s free to enter.
To play, download the app. You can access the app via Oculus Rift, Oculus Go and Samsung GearVR.
Oh Dear…So What’s the Future?
Yes, so it’s still relatively slim pickings in terms of VR casino games…for now but there’s plenty happening in the background.
Speaking at ICE 2019, Play’n Go’s head of Sales, Magnus Olsson said, “We have been looking into 3D: VR and AR. I do think the technology is very interesting, and it could do a lot for gaming – but it’s not yet available to a big audience”.
It’s likely to be a while before VR casinos take off in a meaningful way. So far, the VR headsets have been relatively expensive. But, as the market becomes more competitive, and the uses for VR more widespread, its cost will come down.
VR will become mainstream as more people access the technology. That will herald the true age of VR because it will incentivise developers to create more games.