The future of alternative realities is currently unclear. On one side of the divide, developers and industry analysts are confident that virtual reality (VR) will become the dominant medium. In 2017, it was certainly the largest revenue generator with Oculus Rift and its VR peers generating more than $7 billion. However, if you speak to those with a vested interested in augmented (AR) or mixed reality (MR), the future looks slightly different. According to Val Head from UX Innovation at Adobe, MR will use old and new techniques to create the most realistic and ergonomic virtual experience.

In simple terms, MR software takes the best parts of VR and AR and blends them into one. By scanning and then mapping the user’s environment, MR software can create a virtual environment which is anchored to a real setting. The benefit of this, according to Head, is that it makes features within the virtual world more accessible. On top of this, MR enables location-based storytelling. In other words, as the location changes, so do the elements of the game or movie.

Blending Realities for a Better Experience

via Flickr by dpape

For game developers, this ability to blend realities to create a seemingly real yet alternative world is hugely intriguing. In fact, what it does is open up some interesting possibilities beyond what many would expect. By now, video gamers have embraced the idea of virtual reality and expect the market to grow markedly over the coming years. Indeed, as the technology improves and developers refine their products, making games truly immersive will become second nature for the teams at Rockstar Games and Electronic Arts (EA). However, what will be interesting to see is how developers in the casino gaming sector respond to this new technology. Inside today’s online casinos, slots are the dominant game. Read any casino reviews and you’ll see that slots for Canadians and every other international market are a central focus. As well as noting that Spain Palace has “250 Microgaming online slots”, reviewers will highlight known brands like Tomb Raider and Mega Moolah as selling points.

Turning Your House into a Slot Machine

via Flickr by Gianni Puglisi

It’s not just reviewers that are hot on slots. When you look at the Royal-Vegas casino new features & updates, slot machines dominate more than the gaming lobby. As well as free spin offers, the games are given a better weighting when it comes to clearing said bonuses. With slots having such a standing in the industry, they’re the obvious candidate for the altered reality treatment. Developer NetEnt has already demoed a VR version of its popular Gonzo’s Quest slot. However, this could the tip of the iceberg. Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality headset is now available for an affordable $350, which means this technology is now entering people’s homes. From this, there’s plenty of scope to turn a person’s living room into a giant slot. What’s more, you could create a multi-layered slot where the setting changes as the player changes locations.

Taking a Trend to a New Level

Unlike one-arm bandits that offered a static experience (i.e. you don’t change locations), players are now used to seeing intricate worlds and familiar themes. MR companies could tap into this dynamic and literally add a new dimension to proceedings. Of course, the move from theory to reality takes a little bit of time. However, the seeds have already been planted, seeds which could grow into something exciting in the coming years. For this reason, the future of gaming looks as though it could be mixed.

Featured image credit: Bernd Heilenz (Erny), Awesome VRML World” (CC BY 2.0) by hiperia3d

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