The biggest buzzwords in the tech world throughout 2016 have been “virtual reality.” Thanks to the movements of major players like Oculus Rift (now owned by Facebook), Sony, Samsung and HTC, consumers have finally been given a glimpse into the future of gaming.
Yes, there is still a long way to go in terms of refining the technology, but the early examples of what’s possible are truly breathtaking. In fact, such is the potential of VR that financial firm Deloitte has called it the “billion dollar niche.” While SuperData research has predicted that the industry will be worth $40 billion by 2020.
For gaming fans this is fantastic news as it means there are now many more options to choose from. In fact, even if you don’t own the latest high-end headset, you can still enjoy a VR-style experience and we’re going to show you how. Using some innovative technology, and a little creativity, we’ve come up with three ways you can enjoy a VR experience using your mobile device.
Some Folding and Some Cardboard
If you’re not quite ready to spend upwards of $700 on the likes of Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive, then Google has a quirky and inexpensive alternative. Google’s “viewers” come with three main options: cardboard, different cardboard and plastic.
Google Cardboard was the first of the company’s affordable VR products (costing $18) and all a user had to do was follow the folding instructions, insert their phone into the void and strap it to their face. Although it doesn’t block out the world completely, the viewer basically conceals their phone in its own little world.
Once you’ve pieced together your headset, you can then load up one of the newly “VR enabled” apps and mobile products. One of the leading options currently on offer is YouTube. When you load up a video, you can now hit the option button (three dots) and select “cardboard.” After doing this the picture will split into two and move in unison with your device in order to create a VR-style experience.
Live Dealer Casino
If you don’t have a diploma in origami but still want a taste of reality via your mobile then the iGaming industry has a neat solution: live dealer games. Combining RFID technology and HD webcams, modern online casinos are now able to connect real dealers with virtual players.
For example, when you register to play at Betway Casino, you’ll be able to navigate to its “live games” section and check out a range of options. Once you’ve become acquainted with the desktop version of the software, you can then login to your native app store and download the Betway “live casino” app.
Designed specifically for the company’s live casino software and offering a welcome bonus of up to $250, the app allows you to chat and bet with professional dealers from around Europe. Whether you’re looking for some $5 blackjack or a few rounds of 3 card poker, the app essentially turns your phone into a window that peers directly into a live casino.
Something In Between
The final option for VR fans wanting a slice of mobile action is to straddle two worlds. Pokémon Go caused a storm in the early half of 2016 thanks to its augmented reality capabilities. By using a mobile phone’s camera and display, Nintendo was able to place their virtual world on top of the real world.
Since launching, the game has raked in more than $250 million and it’s because players actually feel like they’re part of the game. The virtual environment meshes with the world around the user and, subsequently, changes as they move. Players get to have complete control over what happens. Indeed, if a player is searching for a Charmeleon, they can’t simply sit there and wait for something to happen. No, they have to pick up their phone and go out and look for it.
Although a player isn’t cocooned in their own little world when they’re playing Pokémon Go, the combination of virtual elements, real world tasks and physical movement make it unique.
In fact, this ability to create new, immersive, experiences is the reason VR has become so popular. Instead of passive gaming, players now want active action. That’s something each of the options listed above offers.