Applications of VR and AR in Gaming
The traditional gaming PC or console experience is not the only way VR gaming can be enjoyed, though. There are some surprising ways in which the technology has impacted the industry. Here are a few of the most intriguing.
Gaming Used to Mean Gambling
The online gambling industry remains enormously profitable. A $423-billion-dollar industry in 2014, it continues to grow at a steady clip. Much like the adult entertainment industry, online casinos have the resources and motivation to experiment with the ways technology can enhance the rush and thrill their customers seek.
One of the earliest ventures into the space was built by SlotsMillion. Gamblers can enjoy real money gaming on 40 virtual machines and tables, all from the comfort of home and utilizing the power of the Oculus Rift. Visitors to the virtual casino can enjoy their own private room decorated in lavish Vegas style, and sign in with their existing SlotsMillion accounts.
Other online gaming establishments have followed suit, and today many of the most popular virtual casinos allow their patrons to truly immerse themselves in the gambling experience.
AR Adventures with Google Ingress and Pokemon GO
Not every game in the space uses a virtual reality headset. Augmented reality, the technology of adding virtual elements to the real world, has applications as well.
One of the earliest forays into augmented reality gaming was built in 2012 by Niantic, Inc., formerly a subsidiary of Google. Developed long before the ready availability of head-mounted displays and Google Glass, the game called Ingressrelies on players’ smartphones to set the stage of a battle for “Exotic Matter” (EM), sought after by two opposing factions.
The wildly popular Pokemon GO was also developed by Niantic, where one could presume that much of the augmented reality groundwork for the game was laid by Ingress. So, how do games like Ingress and Pokemon GO work? The games leverage Google Maps to send players to real-world physical locations, where they use augmented reality technology to interact with virtual targets. Players typically do not interact with each other directly, but often engage in either collaborative or opposing efforts.
Ingress may seem ancient when compared to Pokemon Go, but it speaks to the heart and soul of augmented reality gaming. By sending players to real-world locations and allowign them interact with virtual targets, augmented reality gaming brings together the real and virtual worlds. Every augmented reality game we play in the future owes its roots to Ingress, and it is well worth a look to see where the genre has its roots.
VR Could Bring Back Arcades
Although virtual reality equipment is today readily available to consumers seeking a gaming thrill, there is still plenty that dedicated establishments can offer. The HTC Vive, for example, performs best when given a large, empty room in which the player can wander the virtual world.
Virtual reality could do something incredible for the gaming industry. It could revitalize that all-but-forgotten child of the 80s and 90s: the video arcade.
Investors and developers have already caught onto this possibility. Commercial solutions like VRcade already exist, and they far outstrip home offerings, at least for the moment. Video game developer Starbreeze is partnering with IMAX to open a VR entertainment center in Los Angeles, while a similar endeavor called the Virtuality Club is already open for business in Russia.