Could casinos be the mobile market’s killer VR apps?

When Oculus was released back in March of 2016, hype levels regarding the potential of this hardware were off the charts. Far exceeding anything which had been accomplished in the first generation of home VR devices, including the much-derided Virtual Boy, the Rift was a revelation. This popularity shocked some speculators when, despite the amount of coverage it received, it never really took over as predicted.

The cost of the unit, the connected nature of it to a heavy hardwired system, and the software limitations all combined to undercut what the device might otherwise have achieved.

Since that point, many other devices and software have entered this arena, and several of them have raised the bar considerably. The part of this we want to look at today comes from the mobile forms of headsets, and one possible avenue of casino games which might raise their fame to the level of must-have.

When we talk about mobile headsets, we’re speaking of the likes of the Gear VR. These are the devices which operate with mobile phones, effectively reducing the cost as they rely on tech we already have.

Samsung Gear VR

Samsung Gear VR” (CC BY 2.0) by pestoverde

We’ve decided to focus on casino games because of the already strong relationship which they have with the mobile market. These already cover an enormous range of themes and games, from new to existing properties, many of which continually draw in thousands of players daily. You can play Deal or No Deal online here: https://games.paddypower.com/game/deal-or-no-deal-gfg, for example, which adapts a long-time favourite into similarly loved mobile interpretation.

A Killer App?

A large component of any system’s success is its ability to offer a killer app. These apps are, effectively, system sellers, which draw in not just those who are already interested but entirely new audiences as well.

The closest thing which VR might have in this regard so far is the upcoming Half-Life: Alyx game covered at https://www.theverge.com/2019/12/11/21011315/valve-half-life-alyx-no-multiplayer-linear-narrative-comfortable-vr, but this game’s popularity is inherently limited by host platform requirements and FPS enthusiast engagement.


Online casinos, on the other hand, avoid these restrictions. As static environments, online casinos system requirements, even within VR, should be easily low enough to run on most VR capable devices today. The popularity of games like Deal or no Deal, or the more traditional blackjack and poker games, when adopted into VR, also have a broad enough appeal to instantly reach millions.

In this way, the combination of VR and casino gaming could very well find itself as a proving ground for the future of mobile VR gaming.

Watching the Market

At this point, the mobile VR market is not exactly in a thriving state. Some of the previous efforts like the Gear have shut down as Oculus drops support covered here: https://developer.oculus.com/blog/gear-vr-app-development-no-longer-supported-from-sdk-suite-142-and-future-versions/, with many others following suit. There are questions, however, as to how this might relate to the overall gaming environment of VR. If and when VR sees the next generation, and more popular games, developers would be foolish to avoid the still-evolving potential of mobile VR.

With mobiles only getting more powerful, the capabilities of these devices will only improve, and as such their viability as a base platform will only get better.

It might take casinos or other games first raising the bar on consoles and PC connected devices, but a resurgence in mobile VR is far from an impossibility. One killer app, wherever it comes from, could change the game entirely. When and where it arrives, that much is still up for debate.