Though there are plenty of online and mobile casino games developers jumping on the virtual reality wagon, one of the very first to spot the potential of the technology was Microgaming. The veteran developer wasted no time in creating its first virtual reality game, which it showcased early last year.
While other developers are obsessing over virtual reality slots, Microgaming cut through the noise with a virtual reality roulette game that really changed the game in terms of what people expected from VR technology.
It’s now been well over 12 months since the showcase of Microgaming’s virtual reality roulette at London’s ICE Conference last year. Yet we felt not enough has been done to actually drill into the features of the game, so this review is aimed at rectifying that. Microgaming received the Innovator of the Year Award at the International Gaming Awards 2016, and many commentators and players point to this virtual reality roulette as being the clincher, so it’s probably about time we all got to grips with why that is.
- Standard European Roulette Table
- RTP: 94.76% RTP
- Bet range: 50p — £50
- Max win: £1,800
- Outer space setting
- Robot croupier
Honestly? The game you’re playing here is just standard European Roulette. You can bet numbers, columns, thirds, colours and odd or even, but there’s no particular special features like side bets to make the basic game more interesting. What Microgaming is doing with its Virtual Reality Roulette is creating a totally unique, immersive and exciting gambling experience.
So, what do you experience? Well, Microgaming could have created a photorealistic mock-up of a roulette table at a real casino, with green felt, beige wood and a smiling hostess to boot. We feel they could have surrounded the roulette wheel with other gambling tables and slot machines to make you feel like you’re in Las Vegas. But what’s the point in creating a whole virtual reality environment if you’re going to keep your thinking closed so tightly in the box?
Instead, Microgaming’s Virtual Reality Roulette transports players to outer space, where the table is surrounded not by other gamblers, but by planets, stars and floating asteroids. The 3D environment is perfectly rendered, meaning whichever direction you turn, there’s something new, vivid and interesting to look at. And instead of a smiling hostess? Well, how about a robot to take your bets and spin the wheel? Makes sense to us!
The game is fully interactive, meaning that turning your head allows you to view all the space around you, while moving your hands in front of you allow you to manipulate the chips and place bets. If you’ve tried live dealer roulette before, just imagine that but like one million times more immersive and realistic.
This is the part of the review where we talk about the features of games which set them apart from others like them. If we were reviewing a slot here, we’d be talking able the tumbling reels or expanding wilds that are going to dramatically increase your chances of winning big. However, with Microgaming’s Virtual Reality Roulette, the game is fundamentally just roulette and the special feature is the virtual reality setting that it’s served to you in.
The Best of VR Gaming
Despite the fact that Microgaming’s Virtual Reality Roulette is not yet available to play at your average virtual reality casino, thousands of player have now tried the game out at showcases around the world. One of the reasons it’s such a brilliant immersive experience is that it’s created specifically for use with Oculus Rift DK 2 headsets, which are among the best virtual reality headsets on the market.
Microgaming has made the experience of Virtual Reality Roulette even more realistic and interactive by including a Leap Motion 3D in the virtual reality setup, allowing users to control a virtual hand on screen as if it were their own. This convergence of virtual reality technology – though not wildly privately owned – demonstrates even further forward thinking from the developer.
The choice of game – roulette – also provides a number of further opportunities to augment the experience. For instance, with multiple players accessing the same table at the same time, you could create a situation where they could interact with each other like at a land-based casino. Throw a live dealer into the mix and we challenge you to spot any difference between this and a real life casino experience.
It’s tricky to really give a proper judgement of Microgaming’s Virtual Reality Roulette as a casino game. You can’t look at it without keeping in mind the fact that this game was never really created for release. Instead, it’s a prototype that demonstrates the capabilities of virtual reality technology, positioning Microgaming at the forefront of the VR revolution. It is, fundamentally, just roulette and as such it’s absolutely fine as a game, but to judge it just as roulette is to ignore the extensive work that has gone in to creating a virtual reality world around it.
So, our verdict is basically this: Microgaming’s Virtual Reality Roulette does exactly what it sets out to do. Although it’s not making the developer loads of money at different online and mobile casinos, it has successfully got thousands of players excited about what further virtual reality games Microgaming might come out with in the future. This is all about building demand and getting players invested in virtual reality, thus setting the groundwork for the future.