Casino games have been popular for centuries. Playing cards have been used since at least the Tang Dynasty between the 7th and 10th centuries, while the popular game of blackjack appears to have been developed in several different countries independently.
The modern casinos we know today, with their large open gaming floors and a plethora of other amenities began life in the 20th century as investment money poured into Las Vegas to construct the giant integrated resorts that now line the strip. These businesses turned a popular form of entertainment into a global industry with resorts springing up across the globe and players trekking across the continents to visit them.
But by the end of the 20th century, a new industry had sprouted. One that provided a new way for people to enjoy these classic games from the comfort of their own home. The sudden mass adoption of computers and the internet combined with new laws that allowed online casinos to operate created the perfect environment for these sites to grow.
Very quickly, the iGaming industry began embracing technological developments, creating new games, improving the experience, and making them more accessible. For example, more powerful computers and faster internet connections meant that casinos could offer games with better graphics and more realistic sound effects.
More recently, the introduction of HTML5 has made it easier to play games like roulette, baccarat and video slots as the user no longer needs to download special software and can just use their web browser instead.
Similarly, smartphones and tablets have let players have the freedom to play their favourite games from wherever they are, whether that be on the bus, the beach, or at home in bed. Mobile games also helped iGaming companies to appeal to a broader demographic, with women and older players much more likely to access an online casino through a smartphone than a computer.
The biggest development from online casinos in the last few years has been live dealer games. These differ from traditional online casino games in that instead of just seeing computer-generated graphics, the player gets to interact with a real human dealer through a video feed. This creates a more immersive experience that adds in the social element that’s common in land-based casinos.
Today, live games can be found in just about every online casino due to the immense popularity they have among players. Not all live casinos are created equally though, with some offering a much better experience than others. One of the best on the market is 888 Casino. The site has dozens of live casino titles ranging from traditional table games like roulette and blackjack to new and exciting options like Adventures Beyond Wonderland Live. The site also caters to all types of player with low and high-limit versions of most of the live casino games it has on offer.
The Latest Developments
As an industry that remains at the forefront of technical innovations, online casinos continue to experiment with ways to offer more games, a more immersive experience, and increased convenience to their customers.
Recent developments have included using 4K in their live casino streams, accepting cryptocurrencies as a way to deposit money into a casino account, and unique games like Instant Roulette, which uses a specially designed 12-wheel setup so that players don’t need to wait to place a bet.
Another area that iGaming companies have been embracing is virtual and augmented reality technologies to create a new immersive casino experience.
Virtual reality games have been slowly making their way onto the market over the last couple of years. These require the player to wear a VR headset like the Oculus Rift or Quest and usually connect to a computer.
While wearing the headset, the player sees a 360-degree gaming floor that they can look around simply by turning their head as they would in real life. In front of them will be a table with a game like roulette or blackjack that they can play just like they can in a land-based or online casino.
Augmented reality, on the other hand, is something that hasn’t yet made it to market, but products that use this technology are being actively developed by some of the industry’s biggest hitters.
While VR transports the user into a completely virtual world, AR augments the real world with projections of computer-generated objects that can only be seen while wearing a headset or using another device.
The prospect that augmented reality could offer would be an exciting development for online casinos as it could allow players to turn their homes into virtual gaming floors. While you may currently play blackjack while sitting at your kitchen table, an AR casino game could turn the place you use to eat your breakfast into a realistic-looking felt gaming table, complete with card shoe, croupier, chips, and other players.
An AR casino option could make your weekly game night with friends a whole lot more interesting, with you all wearing headsets and tossing your virtual chips at your mixed-reality gaming table.
Are VR and AR the Future of Online Casinos?
Virtual reality technology hasn’t seen the widespread adoption among the general public that some in the tech industry had envisioned. Microsoft has even refused to develop a VR accessory for its Xbox consoles, while Sony’s PlayStation VR has only a small selection of games available.
This is likely to be because of a few reasons. Firstly, the technology is expensive, with headsets costing anywhere between £300 and £2,000.
Secondly, virtual reality headsets can be burdensome. It takes time to set up and put on your headset and load a game and you’re typically limited to using it at home. In contrast, other technological developments embraced by the gaming industry have made playing games easier and more convenient.
VR and any future AR versions of casino games are likely to appeal to hardcore players that want the most advanced experience available, though are unlikely to be of interest to those that just want to be able to play a quick game here and there.