Gambling is one of the fastest moving industries online, highly responsive to new technologies and innovations. For casino operators, being one step ahead of the field provides a crucial point of difference from the competition, as well as providing gamers with the best possible experience. We’ve seen this time and time again, right from the first online casinos back in the early 90s. The drive to push forward and explore new technologies keeps the industry fresh, and has done so from online to mobile to live gaming and beyond.
With both hardware and software innovations constantly developing, seemingly by the month, there’s no time to stand still. But not all these innovations have practical applications or benefits for gambling operators and their players, and the difficulty lies in choosing which new developments represent the best prospects.
One of the most widely discussed in recent months is augmented reality technology, which gives online casinos a number of options for improving and developing their gaming offerings. But is augmented reality the real deal, or just another gimmick that won’t add much value long term?
Augmented Reality Casinos
As the name suggested, augmented reality technology takes your current reality and adds to it, with virtual overlays on the real-life environment. For casinos, this technology could introduce a range of new features, combining the best elements of live gaming and software with overlays and virtual reality add-ons that make for an even more engaging experience.
Imagine the scene – instead of playing live games from your kitchen table as you might do at present, you can be sat at the table opposite a number of other real human players, in the most realistic virtual casino environment ever created. If you thought live gaming was realistic, imagine how much more powerful it could be in an augmented reality game, bringing the live dealer out of the screen and into your home, or wherever else you choose to play.
It doesn’t stop there. With augmented reality, it will be possible for players to have a 360-degree surround experience, and turning your head to either side could reveal other tables, casino staff, and other games you might want to try out. In terms of realism, augmented reality promises to take things to a whole new level, currently unmatched by anything that’s available today.
In practice, the technology for augmented reality is still some distance from adoption, and there are a number of hurdles in place it has to overcome before we can expect this level of realism from our casinos. So what are the obstacles to overcome for augmented reality developers, and when can we expect to see a more fleshed out vision of how this technology might work in future?
Hurdles to Augmented Reality
While augmented reality is coming down the track, it may still be several years away from any kind of meaningful adoption. The first issue is hardware, which players will need to invest in, in order to take advantage of the augmented reality experience. Like virtual reality, players need glasses, or some other kind of headset capable of creating the augmented reality experience, and these are still very much in development. While some models do exist, they are by no means yet in the mainstream, and it could be a number of years before consumers buy into the technology wholesale. And until they do, the prospects for augmented reality casino gaming, on any level, will remain limited.
There are also the challenges on the software side, and both casino operators and games developers need to be developing for augmented reality platforms. This will come, but for the time being, it’s difficult for developers to channel their time and energy into a technology that, while potentially revolutionary, the market is not yet ready for.
At this stage, it’s hard to say whether augmented reality casino gaming will definitely catch on, although it is looking like one of the most promising innovations to head this way for a number of years. For those eagerly anticipating the experience, there is plenty to look forward to, but it might just be a case of waiting it out for a few more years to see whether the market fully embraces the advance.
Both players and online casino operators would benefit from augmented reality gaming gaining ground. But for the time being, based on the tech challenges ahead, it remains some distance off revolutionising the online gaming experience as we know it.