In 2016, Virtual Reality is set to take over the technology and entertainment sectors in a big way. There now exists a wide range of products from a litany of major technology firms, and many of them are set to finally become available to the public this year. New products are being refined to a state where they are becoming more likely to finally come into widespread use among the general public. Pre-orders for Oculus Ready PCs and Rift bundles started on February 16th, with a limited time offer of $1499 for the market-leading
headset and PC with processing capabilities to support. Major tech and entertainment companies are seeing the potential benefit of Virtual Reality as an industry, and are busy developing entirely new engagement experiences for consumers. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google is developing an all-in-one standalone virtual reality headset that doesn’t rely on a smartphone, computer or console. PlayStation’s virtual reality headset, the PlayStation VR, is set to launch later this year. Other companies investing in VR or developing their own VR products include; Apple, Samsung, Eon and Microsoft with its innovative HoloLens.
The Microsoft Hololens provides an Augmented Reality (AR) experience, rather than a classic Virtual Reality experience. Augmented Reality differs from Virtual Reality in that it is; a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented or supplemented by computer-generated sensory input such as sounds, video graphics or GPS data, rather than watching a fully simulated world. AR has already been applied to the commercial and entertainment fields, and promises to be useful for industrial, medical and military applications.
These incredible technologies advances have also spilled over to the gaming and gambling spaces. VR will allow people to play casino table games sitting at the table while in their own homes. Two dimensional video reel slot games with primarily horizontal and vertical spinning reels, will be transformed into 3 dimensional worlds, with symbols moving and interacting in the 360 degree space around the gamer engaging in a virtual reality casino. VR has the potential to supply an easy and social gambling experience, in an endless variety of exciting different worlds, providing a new and complementary experience aligned with the brick and mortar brand.
Continuing to lead in the iGaming field, GAN launched our proprietary Virtual Reality Simulated Gaming™ application for Empire City Casino in Yonkers, New York, a product compatible with Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets. Patrons who play online with Empire City Casino can now experience the Empire City VR casino, bringing our Simulated Gaming™ product to life. Both slots and table games are available for play through our product. GAN will continue to roll out VR features throughout 2016, and we plan to supply the Simulated Gaming™ VR experience to players of real money Regulated Gaming in H2 2016, subject to third party commercial consents and regulatory consent.
This experience is unique in how we can now bring to life the experience of the casino floor with incredible technological-driven perks. Not only can VR users experience an immersive gambling experience from their own computer, they can also experience different worlds and environments. With our Empire City VR casino, we supply four different unique worlds, bringing constant change and diversifying the user experience: and with this the possibilities are endless. We can create as many worlds as we want- the only limit is imagination. In time, a player will be able to customise their experience, meaning people could go from playing video slots in ancient China to enjoying roulette on the moon.
The decision to invest in VR technology was one that sprung up organically in-house. Two GAN developers channelled their passion and skill to work with the most exciting technology on the planet. By being first in the space, GAN has given itself a head start with the world’s hottest new technology, positioning our casino partners to capture more time share, mind share, and wallet share of their customer base. Furthermore, despite the current cost of VR headsets, the decision is one with major financial potential for the future; research firm Tractica believes that combined revenue from VR headsets, VR accessories and VR content will clear $20bn by the year 2020. The virtual reality industry is going to be a financial juggernaut and companies that are bold in taking the lead and striking out ahead of others are those that will be rewarded most.
As the recipient of eGaming Review North America’s Casino Platform of the Year award in 2015 and 2016, GAN feels a responsibility to innovate and recognises that companies with the ambition to be creative are companies that will drive the direction of the industry moving forward. With the rapid proliferation of the GAN platform across both the USA and globally over the last two years, it would be easy to become cautious and smother our natural instincts to innovate. However, to do so would be a betrayal of the ethos that have taken us to where we are today. GAN believes that by pushing ahead with VR, it sends out a strong signal concerning GAN’s commitment to creating an innovative and best-in-industry offering. We think it’s important to show that GAN is a company committed to leading the industry and pushing out the boundaries of the space. This innovation in turn allows us to inspire confidence from our partners and encourage our software suppliers to join with us in committing to driving the scene forward together.
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