Want to know about the future of virtual reality in the online gambling industry? And so do we at VegasMaster! We decided to ask our questions to Jeff Lande, a virtual reality specialist. He is the founder of Lucky VR and is working on the development of the first virtual casino for the Oculus Rift. For the past two years he has been working exclusively on creating casino games for VR. Previously, he founded a fantasy sports website, which was sold in 2013. Read our interview with Jeff Lande and find out what the future holds for virtual casinos.
How did you get started in the gambling industry and what motivated you?
I got my start in the gambling industry when I started a fantasy sports website and it started to grow rapidly. I had played online poker before that, so I knew how the peer-to-peer system of gambling sites worked. I had the opportunity to apply my knowledge to modernize fantasy sports.
What inspired you to create Lucky VR, because being a trailblazer is always a big risk?
When I tried my hand at developing virtual reality, it became clear to me that this technology could revolutionize everything from video games to education. I started to think about how I could apply it to online gambling and realized that the most obvious way was to create Lucky VR. Of course, it’s safer to use an existing platform, such as websites or mobile – there is a big market with users there, but working with a VR platform is more interesting and promises much more success if virtual reality becomes mainstream.
Do you think virtual reality will become a cornerstone in the online casinos of the future?
I have no doubt that one day most online casino players will embrace the power of virtual reality. It can make everything from gameplay to customer service better. The only question is to make appropriate content and lower hardware prices so that virtual reality becomes the dominant platform in the online casino industry.
What do you think is most important in creating virtual games? The game mechanics? The visual component? Anything else?
The most important factor in the creation of virtual casino games is the player’s comfort. You have to sacrifice visual accuracy and gameplay mechanics if that is what it takes to make the player feel better about the gaming environment. If your game is comfortable, all that remains is to add interesting content and intuitive interactions that don’t disrupt the immersion of virtual reality. This is actually quite difficult to achieve.
Do you believe in making virtual reality games generally available to all users, given the price tag of products like Facebook’s Oculus Rift or Samsung’s Gear VR?
VR industry leaders like the Oculus Rift will not become generally available at the current cost. However, we think that in the next few years, prices will become much lower and products will become more affordable. Many big companies are competing to lead the VR market by offering their own helmets. There are benefits for users in this as well.
I have no doubt that one day a large portion of online casino players will use virtual reality capabilities
Mobile VR headphones are already quite available and some are even free, such as the Samsung Gear VR, which comes as a gift with the purchase of the new S7 smartphone. Mobile virtual reality will definitely become a mass-market product. This will also spur the development of other VR products and allow people to get a taste of what virtual reality is all about.
From a software provider’s perspective, what are the benefits of casinos that offer virtual gameplay? Can you point out the biggest change in player behavior?
Casinos will have more access to players and their data, more than ever before the advent of virtual reality. In virtual reality casinos, operators will be able to really talk to users and create a personal relationship. Working with VIP players will become more efficient, they will get more attention, similar to how it happens in land-based casinos.
In terms of analytics, you don’t know where a player will click and how much they will want to spend in any particular game – it’s just like on web/mobile platforms. In virtual reality, you can watch players in real time, see how they react to certain games or offers, and get their feedback in person.
What have you learned from studying similar innovative formats, such as 3D TV or 3D games, that have failed?
VR failed 20 years ago, but I think the technology itself is very good. But specifically about virtual reality, at the time it was first presented 20 years ago, most people had never tried it before. They wanted it as soon as possible, and they expected it to work just like in sci-fi movies. Those who did try it were not really impressed. Now users are skeptical about virtual reality simply because those who have tried modern VR helmets can’t fully convey how amazing the experience is.
How soon do you think virtual casinos can come close to the land-based gambling houses?
It’s hard to say yet, but virtual reality is improving and within the next 5-10 years you will see some amazing new content that will allow virtual casinos to not only copy the land-based ones, but become even better than them.
Looking ahead, what do you think are the future challenges for the industry?
The challenge that awaits the industry is the slow growth in popularity, which in turn leads to a slow growth in the user base. And they are the ones who guarantee the investment to create AAA-level casino content. Many VR developers are buying technology for video games, and this population is not the typical casino-goer. It will be a while before people who want to play casinos online become the ones who have VR helmets at home.
Can you tell us about Lucky VR’s plans for the future?
Lucky VR plans to continue working on better content for virtual casinos. In order to develop virtual reality we have to constantly learn new things and adapt to changing realities. This is the only way to create something truly grandiose. We continue to explore virtual reality methods and create better content for all VR platforms. We want virtual reality to come to casinos.