Many aspects of the world around us are changing at a rapid pace with the non-stop advances in digital technologies. You only need to look at the video game industry to see how far we’ve come in a relatively short period of time. Then, the question is, where do we go from here? What’s next? Is immersive technology the future of gaming?
Immersive Technology – In a Nutshell
According to the Oxford dictionary, immersive means to completely surround someone or something. Therefore, in a digital context, immersive technology is a three-dimensional visualisation that surrounds the user – an alternative reality if you like.
The leading type of immersive technology is VR (Virtual Reality) in which a user enters a virtual environment by using a pair of special goggles – known as a head-mounted display (HMD). The HMDs use motion sensor technology to follow head movements, thus creating a seamless virtual environment experience.
AR (Augmented Reality) is another immersive technology that introduces virtual elements into the real world by way of a digital device, such as a mobile phone. Pokémon Go is one of the most successful AR projects to date, but no doubt there will be many others in the years to come. Other noteworthy immersive technologies include HoloLens, which is MR (Mixed Reality), and Haptic technology that uses pressure sensors, vibrations, and user movements to create an engaging, immersive experience.
Virtual Reality Games
Although still in their early days, VR games look set to be the next big thing, which is why it’s fair to say immersive technology is the future of gaming. If you’re looking for total immersion, then you’ve found it. These are some of the top VR games available right now.
Star Wars: Squadrons
Many of us grew up with Star Wars, and this VR game lets us act out those childhood memories by playing as Imperial Pilots (or Rebels) in this spaceship combat masterpiece. Although the game isn’t exclusive to VR, using a headset intensifies the experience as you are zipping around in Space in your X-Wing or TIE Fighter.
Millions of gamers will already be familiar with this highly addictive first-person shooter game. However, the addition of the virtual reality headset takes things to a whole new level; with 360-degree tracking modes and enemies coming at you from all angles, Superhot is one of the most immersive VR games around.
Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
Developed exclusively for PlayStation VR, Astro Bot has been a smash hit since its release on the PS4. This game is a cut above most others with its weaving levels, spectacular visuals and engaging theme. If you think of unique games like Nintendo’s Mario series and multiply the imagination and inventiveness by ten, then you are getting close to what Astro Bot has to offer.
Immersive Technology in Casino Gaming
Immersive technology, in particular virtual reality, is so expansive that it’s not just first-person shooter games that are looking to tap into this market. In recent years, multiple online gambling companies have taken the plunge to explore the possibilities of this tech.
Several online poker sites are in the early stages of developing VR games, but Poker VR is leading the field at the moment. This is a social poker platform that allows players to test their skills against other real people, but in a virtual reality environment. The technology allows players to chat with each other and the life-like avatars are able to display body and lips movements when talking. It’s also possible to use motion controllers that allow you to move your chips and pick up your hole cards. If you’ve always wanted to play poker in Las Vegas or Macau, Poker VR is the virtual answer.
First out of the gate for virtual reality casinos was Slots Million. This product was launched about 3 – 4 years ago, and while it had a slow start to life, it’s steadily growing in popularity as more online casino players also own an HMD. After putting on the goggles, you’re transported into the Slots Million Virtual Casino, which offers more than 40 top real-money video slots. As you would expect, the virtual environment mimics that of a physical casino. You can wander around the floor looking for the game you want to play, then pull up a stool and start spinning the reels.
Known as Live Beyond Live, the focus here is on classic table games like blackjack and roulette. Mr Green combines virtual reality and real-life components to form a mixed reality casino gaming destination. Live Beyond is Live available via mobile VR, so it doesn’t offer the full 360-degree experience of Slots Million or Poker VR, but it’s a cool concept that definitely adds to the immersive nature of these popular casino games.