One of the most responsive industries to new technological trends is certainly gambling. Casinos were some of the first start-ups to take advantage of the internet itself and have been continuing to innovate ever since.
Over the years since going online, various technologies have had an impact on the way casinos choose to operate and the games they can provide to punters. Constant graphics enhancements have led to video slots that would be completely inconceivable just years previously, broadband and fibre optic internet connections allow for the streaming of video allowing for Live Casinos, and the smartphone has made it possible for anyone to have a fully-fledged casino, sportsbook, and poker room right in their pocket.
Each of these technological improvements ushered in sweeping changes for the industry. They enhanced the gameplay experience of the players themselves and allowed early adopters to stand out in a highly competitive sphere whilst the crowd caught up. Both existing and new operators strive to offer games using the latest tech amongst their collections. Augmented reality technology could one day be that latest must-have casino technology.
What is Augmented Reality
Augmented reality is a lot like virtual reality. However, instead of being whisked to some impossible, far-away land, you see the world around you as normal only with computer-generated images “augmented” into your “reality”.
Do you remember Pokémon Go – the game that swept the globe and netted its developer millions each day following its launch? The hit mobile app was an early example of augmented reality.
Pokémon Go, which is still played today only by far fewer numbers, uses the camera of the device it is being played on to display the image captured by the lens on-screen. To this, an image of one of the game’s digital monsters is overlaid, making it appear as if the creature were right in front of the player, in the real world.
The capabilities and potential popularity of augmented reality was showcased beautifully by Pokémon Go a few years ago and understandably developers from a variety of industries are keen to create their own killer application using the tech.
How Could Augmented Reality Shake Up the Casino Industry?
One such industry is the online gambling industry. As mentioned, casino operators are keen to embrace whatever cutting-edge technology that they think will provide a more engaging and rewarding experience for punters. However, the technology is still very limited in its scope and truth be told, it is a little early to proclaim the exact impact, if any, augmented reality will have on the iGaming sector.
However, given the immense popularity of Live Casino offerings, it seems likely that some form of Live Augmented Reality Casino will be one of the first examples of online casinos using the technology. Imagine, being sat in your own living room, huddled around a blackjack table, surrounded by your friends (who are also enjoying the action via a headset from the comfort of their own homes). The dealer, the tables, and the other players could all be added to the player’s view using augmented reality technology.
The ability to interact with friends from around the world in a gambling setting is certainly something that gambling operators are keen to encourage since sharing an iGaming experience with loved ones dramatically increases its enjoyment. Such appeals to increased social interaction might also invite those outside of typical online gambling circles to partake, thus bringing “online gambling” much closer to its real-world counterpart.
Casino operators could even get creative and contract big name celebrities to be dealers for games. Play a poker game in the company of friends from the all corners of the globe that is dealt by Snoop Dogg, Taylor Swift, or even the legendary Doyle Brunson could become a reality – albeit an augmented one – in the coming years.
Sports betting is another area in which augmented reality could provide a more enjoyable experience to online casino users. Bettors attending a live game could be presented with special prices and selections appearing around players, which could be backed at the touch of button. Previous performance statistics could also be overlaid alongside players to help guide betting decisions.
With augmented reality itself predicted to become a multi-billion-dollar industry, it seems a given that the technology, when ready, will be incorporated into all kinds of casino offerings that are barely conceivable today. The early speculative applications of augmented reality detailed above, alongside those that are sure to come later might also be able to engage with the growing market of young adults who seem less interested in gambling than previous generations have done.
Current Limitations of Augmented Reality
However, none of this is expected to come quickly. As mentioned, the technology is still very much in its infancy. There seem to be two major obstacles for it to overcome currently. One relates to the technical limitations of the software itself and the other the proliferation of hardware.
Being such a new technology, augmented reality is still a work in progress. However, given the success of early applications of the technology, there is no shortage of incentive to develop it.
Both casino operators and game design firms are currently investing heavily in the technology. That said, it will still likely be a few years before the first augmented reality casino games make it to your favourite online casino’s collection.
Adding to this problem is the fact that augmented reality, just like virtual reality, requires special hardware to use. Early gaming applications showcased the promise of the technology using image capture hardware built into mobile phones. However, for the kind of immersive casino experience alluded to above, a full headset is almost certainly required.
The hardware models that currently exist and are capable of supporting the limited augmented reality applications available are prohibitively expensive for now. Unfortunately, this will continue to hinder the eventual adoption of the technology until consumers feel compelled to buy the necessary kit. However, the creation must-have application (possible a casino-related one) would certainly speed up this adoption.
Despite its early stage of development, augmented reality could well prove to be the next technology to take the gambling industry by storm. Based on early speculations, there are ways that its use in a casino-related application could be incredibly popular amongst punters. Just don’t expect to see it any time soon. There will still be quite a bit more time before you’re getting dealt pocket aces by Kanye West!