Opinion

Is Everything Better in a Different Reality?

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past 12 months, the words virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will mean at least something to you. Touted as the way forward for almost every industry with a digital presence, VR and AR look set to make a big impact in 2017.

“Augmented Reality” (CC BY 2.0) by turkletom

But, when you cut through all the bluster and hot talk of billions of dollars in revenue, the real question becomes: is everything going to be better off with VR and AR?

In the gaming world, the natural inclination is to say yes. We’ve already seen how popular mobile AR can be thanks to Pokémon Go (500 million downloads as of December 2016), but could this success translate to other areas? Android gaming has become a diverse industry over the last decade with developers, service providers and players all offering and, moreover, wanting something different.

Not All Android Games Require Greater Immersion

“6/365 I’m All in !!!!” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by RTD Photography

For example, beyond classic console-style offerings, Android gamers can now ante up like James Bond in a virtual casino. A subset of the mobile gaming industry as a whole, iGaming is projected to be worth $50.65 billion (according to Statista) in 2017 with major players such as Canada’s Amaya able to rake $96 million in a single month. With VR or AR yet to touch the iGaming community, the question is: does it need it?

Looking at review and comparison site Online Casinos Canada, it seems that one of the biggest issues players want reassurance over is safety and trust. In its overview of the best online casinos for slots, the independent review site lists a range of features it looks for when rating a platform. Starting with “safety” at the top, it then takes into account “game choice”, “promos” and, overall, “trust”.

Now, that’s not to say AR couldn’t enhance an online slot players experience. However, it’s more a case of how much would it improve a player’s experience and is the cost worth it? Indeed, when you look at an AR Android product like Pokémon Go, benefits such as the timeline feature are clear. Having the ability to overlay creatures or a battlefield onto real settings extends the playing area and, therefore, creates a deeper immersion.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

“Augmented Reality tower defense game” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by inky

However, when it comes to mobile casino gaming, players aren’t interested in immersion, they want speed. The more bets you can place, the more fun, in theory, you’ll have. One of the reasons mobile casino gaming became popular in the first place is because it provides a quick and easy way to play away from desktops.

In fact, if you really look at mobile gaming as a whole, this seems to be the case for a lot of games. Would Angry Birds or Candy Crush really be better with an AR design or are they better served as ephemeral time killers?

Yes, there’s no doubt a game like Minecraft or Unkilled would benefit from some form of mixed reality, but these games aren’t the be all and end all in the Android gaming world. Yes, there’s no doubt AR and VR present some interesting possibilities, but that doesn’t mean they are a necessity.

Indeed, as we’ve shown, some areas of the industry are doing just fine as they are. So, while some things can certainly be enhanced by different realities, it’s not something we should get too hung up on just yet.

What are your thoughts on VR and AG going mainstream? Do you think everything will be, virtually better? Comment below and let us know.

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