One of the most exciting pieces of hardware presented this year is Apple’s brand-new AR headset, the Vision Pro. The presentation of the product at the WWDC 2023 was pretty convincing, covering everything from work to communication and entertainment. Even gaming. Since then, the VR/AR community has pointed out that the product doesn’t come with motion controllers, making it uncertain that it will work well for gaming. But there’s another question: will it be good for casual games, maybe casino games?
A short history of VR casinos
The idea of a fully immersive virtual casino emerged shortly after Palmer Luckey triggered the new VR revolution in 2012. Microgaming, one of the veterans in the casino software development business, presented its VR Roulette at a major international trade show even before the first commercial VR headset was released. As you might expect, it won pretty much every innovation award that year. Unfortunately, due to the slow growth of the VR platform, it was quietly shelved by the developer, never to be seen to this day.
While there are a few immersive gambling experiences available for VR players, none of them are real-money gambling outlets.
Will AR casinos even be a thing?
They may be – but a lot depends on how fast the platform itself will grow.
AR headsets have been around for ages in one form or another. Google’s Glass was an exciting product when it was first released, but its prohibitive price prevented it from going mainstream. The same was true for Microsoft’s HoloLens, and the Magic Leap, and the same may be true for the Apple Vision Pro. These are all niche products with a prohibitive price (the Vision Pro is said to cost around $3,000), so we can’t expect them to spread as smartphones did. It’s more likely that their growth will be slow, with small jumps when new products are released, or prices are cut.
A business based on a large number of players spending small amounts, like casual games and online casinos, will not be viable on such a platform. So, it’s more likely that these will stick to smartphones for the time being and make some incursions into the world of VR and AR later. Much later.
AR’s mainstream adoption will face pitfalls
The mainstream adoption of augmented reality headsets will likely face the same pitfalls VR did. First of all, there’s the price: AR headsets are expensive and will remain expensive for the foreseeable future.
Then, there’s the question of commitment. Until the platform is big enough, game developers won’t release an exclusive “big title” on it. And with no big title exclusives, the platform’s growth will remain slow.
Finally, there’s the question of use cases. As opposed to smartphones, which can be used pretty much everywhere, the bulky and funny-looking VR and AR headsets of today can only be used at home or in an office setting. This will further limit the growth of the platform.
Could online casinos come to Apple Vision Pro?
Yes, they could. But they won’t, at least not for the time being. There are many obstacles that the platform has to overcome to become big enough for casual games and casino games to be viable on it. So, let’s just stick to smartphones for the time being.