The Potential for Augmented Reality in Online Gaming
14th October 2022
Augmented Reality is no longer a pigment of our imagination. Now that it’s slowly becoming a part of our everyday lives, we’re seeing augmented reality enter industries like commerce. For example, companies like IKEA and Wayfair are launching apps that let you virtually assess the compatibility of their furniture and your room design. Apple’s AR/VR headset is rumored to be launching next year, and you can also expect them to move heaven and earth to bring their glasses – it looks like they could be designed for gaming, media consumption, and communication – forward from the speculative release date of 2025.
As augmented reality grows in popularity, players are increasingly prepared to use technologies to adapt to modern-day gaming. In particular, augmented reality seems to be a good fit for online poker, which went through a boom rarely seen in such an established market. In fact, the revenue from online casino games like slots and blackjack reached $402 million in 2020. Experts believe that the revenue increase is caused by the accessibility of online platforms, which is why one can expect that the emergence of augmented reality will further boost the game’s popularity. Here’s why augmented reality has a lot of potential for online poker:
Live Dealer Gaming
How can this technology affect games, one wonders? Augmented reality has already entered the online casino arena via live dealer games. These are games based (usually) around bingo or roulette and hosted by a live dealer. The idea is that taking part in the experience feels more like being on the set of Deal Or No Deal and less like interfacing with a phone app. New players may have little knowledge of even basic poker terms, so a virtual coaching session from a live host – perhaps even a professional player – would be a far more stimulating intro to the game than poring through a rulebook.
Let’s take that idea one stage further. Online poker is a very different beast from the game played in physical casinos. Primarily, it’s faster, with hands coming at a rate of 60-80 per hour versus 30 or so in the live version. Meanwhile, many new players complain that they’re being eaten alive by more experienced players, who can grind multiple low-stakes tables simultaneously for less risk than hitting the high rollers. If we could see the other players via augmented reality – perhaps projecting the image onto a larger surface – we’d get a better idea of who we were playing against. We’d be able to look for their ‘tells’ – the involuntary body language that may give away how a player feels about their cards. Augmented reality could make these online games more akin to the live version, which is as much a social activity as the online game’s being almost exclusively a math-based enterprise.
Better than the 'real thing'?
The casino experience does have a lot of downtime, particularly if you fold early on and that round sees a lot of action. Augmented reality could offer something else to do during this period to keep the game fun and exciting. Augmented reality has already demonstrated its potential in apps like L’Oreal’s Modiface, where customers can check out how products look from different angles through photos and videos. As such, augmented reality technologies can not just allow online poker players to participate in a virtual game, but potentially even enable these players to ‘wander around’ the virtual room and look at what’s happening on the other tables.
Augmented reality will innovate and potentially disrupt several industries. In gaming, the proof of concept is already with us, and users have, to a degree, already onboarded. When augmented reality hits the mass market in as popular a pastime as poker, it could well be a winning hand.
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