The world of online casino gaming has changed beyond recognition since its emergence in the mid-90s. The very first casino games were slow, simple and merely existed to basically replicate the already-popular games on a computer screen at home.
Fast forward 25 years and online casino gaming is an immersive experience. Live video technology, enhanced graphics and more processing power have helped online players enjoy an experience so authentic it doesn’t feel far removed from being right there at the tables in Las Vegas.
What’s more, the industry has capitalized masterfully on the emergence of the smartphone market to allow players to enjoy their favorite games on the go, whether that’s on the train, on their way to work or just while relaxing on the couch at home.
But what does the future hold for iGaming? And what is the new technology that could help take the industry to another level?
A new reality
Augmented reality (AR) technology literally allows its users to augment the reality around them. Developers are able to plot items, characters and landscapes on the real-life environment that surrounds the player, usually through the lens of a headset, monitor or glasses.
Although AR has already found applications in several different industries, in the world of video games, it has allowed developers to produce titles that place the gamer at the very center of the action. They are no longer engaging with a screen and instead interacting with everything that surrounds them.
That same technology is gradually being adapted for use in the world of online gambling, and several leading names, including developers NetEnt and Playtech, have already started to experiment with the possibilities, as brands seek to gain an edge on their competitors however they can in a crowded marketplace.
Augmented reality can help bring games to like never before, and whether you play casino for real money on one of the several platforms available online or just for fun, being able to see a physical roulette wheel in front of you – and control it with the flick of a wrist – could be a real gamechanger.
The possibilities are there for other games too. Imagine playing slots online but seeing the machine in front of you instead of on a screen, or settling down to a game of poker with seemingly real-life opponents joining you at what looks like a physical table.
The technology offers some incredible possibilities and can help meet the demand of players who are seeking an experience that can help them escape the rigors of day-to-day life, or just unwind after a day at work.
Not for everybody
But brands in the gambling sector recognize that not all of their players want an immersive experience, and many in fact are looking for something that’s much more discreet and casual.
So, while many brands are expected to invest heavily in immersive technology like AR, expect just as many to continue to focus on solutions for players who wish to enjoy their favorite games in a more compact, traditional environment.
It will be fascinating to see how the industry at large finds a balance between the two.