For a long time now, Virtual Reality Slots and VR Casinos have been touted as the next big thing in online gaming. In 2017 we saw the first real-money VR slot game – Sugar Rush by Pragmatic. In 2018 we are going to see the first title by industry giants, NetEnt – Gonzo’s Quest VR. Elsewhere, SlotsMillion continued to progress with testing and refining the world’s first truly Virtual Casino gaming experience.
With hardware costs coming down and technology moving forward at pace, these are exciting times for slots players and we can surely expect more VR games to follow soon.
What Are Virtual Reality Slots?
Imagine playing your favourite real money slot games inside an immersive 3D world where all the action comes to life around you. Where you can interact with the characters and they celebrate with you when you win. And where thunderous reels spin and coins literally rain down on you as you hit that jackpot. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, that is the future of online casinos – Virtual Reality Slots.
Real money VR slots are not widely available in the UK yet, but SlotsMillion.com is leading the way in providing the VR experience to it’s customers. Their first release in partnership with Pragmatic Play is a rework of the classic slot, Sugar Rush. This fully immersive and interactive slot game was released by Pragmatic Play and SlotsMillion.com in 2017. It is available to play on mobile Android devices by downloading and installing the SlotsMillion app, and plugging in your Samsung VR, Google Daydream or Google Cardboard headset.
Sugar Rush VR (Pragmatic Play)
Sugar Rush is full of vivid colours and candy imagery that lend themselves well to an immersive environment. During the game players literally walk through candy-paved sweets surrounded by ginger bread houses. And winning spins are completed with showers of glittering coins.
If you like the sound of this game – head on over to SlotsMillion.com to get a piece of the action now. All new sign-ups are treated to their 100% deposit match bonus and 100 free spins welcome offer (terms apply, 18+, new customers only).
Try the Full VR Casino Experience at SlotsMillion.com
The Sugar Rush VR game is not SlotsMillion.com’s first venture into the Virtual Reality gambling market. They already set their stall out with a fully virtual casino experience when they released SlotsMillion VR in 2016.
Their immersive VR casino is available for players who have an Oculus Rift headset and Windows 8 or newer. To play you will need to download the SlotsMillion VR casino app from their website and install it first.
This SlotsMillion brand is owned by Alea Gaming Ltd and operates under licenses from the UK and Malta.
In Production – NetEnt’s First VR Slot Game – Gonzo’s Quest VR
It won’t be long before more suppliers get in on the action and deliver their own VR games. Indeed slot players will be licking their lips at the prospect of NetEnt re-launching one of the most popular slot games of all time in VR format. The Swedish game developer showcased Gonzo’s Quest VR at ICE Totally Gaming 2018, the annual industry conference, and announced it will be available in its next platform release. This will make it available to UK players in summer 2018.
Here is a sneak preview from their promo video:
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More About Virtual Reality Casinos And Slots
Online gambling has always been amongst the first industries to harness new technologies, from the earliest days of the internet through to mobile gaming and live casinos. Many in the industry now believe that Virtual Reality (VR) will be the next stage in the evolution of online casinos, and virtual reality slot games will be a big part of that.
VR can impact the way in which we experience our interaction with an online casino as well as the gameplay experience itself. For gamblers who play slots this opens up some very exciting possibilities.
At the start of 2018 VR Casinos are still very much a niche, partly due to the inhibitive costs of hardware for the consumer, and the high spec requirements for computer hardware. However, as costs of headsets come down and the technologies improve, playing slots in a VR environment will almost certainly become more widespread in the UK in the coming years.
What Is Virtual Reality?
Virtual Reality is a three-dimensional computer-generated immersive world that a user can enter through the use of a headset or goggles. The user can explore that world and interact with features, objects and other users within it.
VR has many potential uses in the modern world, in particular in healthcare, clinical and medical training, as well as military and space training. And of course, online gambling operators have been quick to see the opportunities VR holds for themselves and their customers.
The Potential for VR Casinos and VR Slot Machines
Visually Exciting – VR casinos can bridge the gap between the bricks and mortar, glitz and glamour offline gambling experience and the solitary online casino experience. The real-life casino is a sensory overload of sights, sounds and colors hitting the user from every angle, whereas the online experience can be reduced to simply the visuals on the screen, with or without sound according to the set-up of the game.
A VR casino can resolve the gap between these two experiences and give the player a real-as-real-can-get gaming experience. The SlotsMillion VR casino lounge features a bar and a chill-out zone with sofas and iPads to browse as well as the usual banks of video slot machines.
The SlotsMillion team put a lot of research into the design and layout of their VR casino lounge to ensure that they achieved the right balance between aesthetics and functionality to allow the user to enjoy a real VR experience without being over-awed by intrusive affects.
The Social Element – VR Casinos are a fully-immersive world within which the customer can walk around, browsing different game machines or card tables, and speaking to other players. This can make the whole experience more enjoyable, and if you get to know your fellow players, give you a reason to come back.
The other important feature of a VR casino world is the opportunity it gives the player to interact with casino staff. For example, as a slot player who enjoys a title like Big Time Gaming’s White Rabbit for example, you might be grateful if a Pitt Boss or support agent came up to you during your time online and offered you some complimentary free spins on that game, or simply gave you a personal welcome to the casino and showed you where to find White Rabbit Slot.
Equally, if you have a question regarding promotions, a cashier issue, or a game, wouldn’t it be great if you could speak to a support agent directly without sending an email or waiting for a reply on chat? VR Casinos can allow this to happen.
Immersive and Interactive Gameplay – For VR slots games themselves, the technology can be used to create more engaging, interactive and exciting gameplay. Just check out the promo for Gonzo’s Quest – above, on this page –to see what we mean. The exciting thing about immersive content is that it really gives the player the chance to interact with the game and the characters themselves. This will get particularly exciting in bonus round with Free Spins, Pick Me gameplay and other interactive features.
How To Play Virtual Reality Casinos
Virtual Reality casinos have not yet entered the mainstream of online gambling in the UK. The only casino that can genuinely claim to be a VR casino is SlotsMillion.com. The experience was launched in 2016 and became available to UK customers when Alea acquired their UK license in 2017.
To enjoy the VR version of Slots Million, follow these steps:
- Sign Up Your Account – if you are not already a member of SlotsMillion.com then you will need to create an account first. New customers are entitled to a bonus of 100% up to £100 and 100 Free Spins (terms apply – see site).
- Download and Install the VR Casino App – It’s available directly from the Virtual Reality link in the main navigation. The download only works with Windows 8 or newer.
- Run the app – Use your Oculus Rift headset to view the action!
Virtual Reality Headsets
If you choose to play VR slots at a VR casino then you will need to invest in some hardware to connect you with the games. You will also need to download the VR app from your chosen casino to your computer.
These are the most popular headsets currently available.
Facebook Oculus Rift – The most popular Virtual Reality headset is the Oculus Rift. It costs around £399 in the UK. Oculus VR who invented the Rift are now a division of Facebook Inc. The headset was first released in March 2016.
The Rift was developed specifically with gaming in mind and it is only compatible with the Windows Operating System with a relatively high spec. The ‘recommended’ hardware specifications are currently an Intel Core i3-6100 or AMD 4350 CPU, a GeForce GTX 960 graphics card, 2x USB 3.0 ports and 1x USB 2.0 port and Windows 8 or newer.
The Rift headset uses OLED panels for each eye with a resolution of 1080×1200 with a refresh rate of 90HZ – this set up means the user gets a wide field of vision and no jarring or blurring. The headset also has integrated headphones which provide real time 3D audio affects.
The Rift comes with a motion controller system called Oculus Touch. These consist of two handheld units that are made up of sticks, buttons and triggers that allow the user to simulate touching and grabbing objects in the virtual world.
The Oculus Rift creates a truly immersive experience.
HTC Vive – The Vive is a headset created by HTC and Valve Corporation. It was made available to consumers in April 2016. It typically costs around £599 in the UK. The Vive is another popular VR headset amongst online gamers and it comes with a similar spec to the Oculus Rift, with two screen panels (one for each eye), each with a screen resolution of 1080×1200 and a refresh rate of 90Hz.
Google Cardboard – This is the low-cost alternative VR viewer developed by Google and intended to encourage more interest in Virtual Reality from customers and app developers. The cardboard headset requires the user to place their phone into the back of the viewer and watch the content through a lens. Google cardboard costs around £25 in the UK.
Google Daydream – Following on from Google Cardboard, Google released a more expensive VR headset called Daydream. It came out in November 2016. It is available to users with handsets on the Android Operating System and can be purchased for around £79 in the UK.
Samsung Gear VR – This headset is compatible with all flagship Samsung devices and is available to UK players for around £60. It was released in 2015.
SlotsMillion and Pragmatic Play’s Sugar Rush can be played on either Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard or Google Daydream headsets.
Virtual Reality or 3D
Without a headset you can still enjoy a VR casino experience like SlotsMillion on your desktop. The experience will not be the same immersive casino as you would experience on Oculus Rift, but it will be in 3D nonetheless.
Licensing, Regulation and Responsible Gaming
As with all online gambling in the UK, virtual reality casinos, and those hosting VR slot machines, must hold a license from the UK Gambling Commission. Under the terms of these licenses operators must take due care in ensuing their casino is not used for criminal purposes (money laundering), that vulnerable and underage people are not exploited, and that their promotions are fair and transparent.
In respect to VR casinos, regulators have insisted that clocks are visible in the virtual lobbies to ensure that players can see how long they have been playing for. And elsewhere, all gambling limits relating to deposits, withdrawals, wagering and time-outs apply as they would when playing through the normal website.
How Big Will VR Casinos Be?
At the start of 2017 a study published by Juniper Research predicted that Virtual Reality Gambling would grow by 800% over the following five years, taking gross gaming revenue to $520 million by 2021. This figure has been questioned by some in the industry, and it’s worth remembering that gambling operators won’t retain all that as profit – more like 2% to 3%. So, even with this kind of growth, VR will still be a small part of the overall online market.
From a customer’s perspective, it is likely that the emergence of a wide selection of VR casinos and VR slot machine games will not happen overnight. As the first product to open its virtual doors, SlotsMillion has had a mixed experience. The VR version of their casino is now only available as a demo version – perhaps it arrived a little too early on the scene when hardware costs were still a little too high and attitudes towards the technology still uncertain.
At the same time, the future for VR slots themselves looks bright. With Alea and Pragmatic Play’s own Sugar Rush now available to players who only need a £25 Google Cardboard headset to play, and NetEnt set to release more VR games in the coming months, there is a lot to be excited about.
Keep your eyes peeled for more news on Virtual Reality Slots at TheSlotBuzz.