The Future of Casual Games in a Virtual Reality-Enabled World

Virtual reality has first emerged ahead of its time, in the 1990s. After a short-lived career, mostly at arcades, it has descended into oblivion, only to re-emerge decades later. Today, we have both the computers that can handle virtual reality, the displays to make headsets lightweight, and the sensors that allow them to work as they should.

This time, VR seems here to stay. VR headsets are expected to have the biggest impact on the world of gaming, allowing players to step inside the skins of the characters they are guiding on the screen, making them inherently fit for playing games from a first-person perspective. But the effects of virtual reality will go beyond first person shooters. In time, VR will lead to the appearance of a new generation of casual games, too.

Back to the table

An example of how virtual reality can change casual games has emerged early in 2016, when Microgaming, the game developer that provides the Vegas Palms Casino with its massive game library, has first showcased its “Virtual Roulette” product at the ICE Totally Gaming event. Until then, players had the choice to play the best online mobile games for Android and iPhone at Vegas Palms casino on their smartphones or access a larger library of Vegas Palms games on their desktop computers.

With the new product, players will be able to step inside the Vegas Palms – virtually, of course – and play its games in a way that’s far closer to the “real thing” than ever before.
The problem with this approach is that the games that work great on a PC (or smartphone) screen will probably not work in virtual reality. After all, what is the use in reproducing a game on a virtual screen that’s played on a screen in real life as it is? For casinos, the only viable option is to give their table games a VR makeover – these games are traditionally played by sitting down to a table and interacting with a dealer, so their VR alternatives would work great.

Casual immersion

The situation of today’s popular social and casual games is similar to the one described above. They were created to be played on a screen, and transposing them to virtual reality in their current form wouldn’t mean too much of a difference – and incentive – to the players. Virtual reality will, in turn, lead to the creation of new casual games and the revival of some traditional ones that people enjoyed so much before the invention of the PC.
Imagine, for example, a virtual reality clay pigeon shooting game. It would be perfect for individual target practice or to be played by “parties” with members from all over the world. Another traditional skill game that would make a perfect VR comeback is “Horseshoes”, where players have to throw horseshoes on stakes.

A little girl wearing a virtual reality headset
And there are many similar outdoor games that could be revived in cyberspace. Or think of how great a VR game darts could make…
The emergence of virtual playgrounds like Linden Lab’s upcoming “Project Sansar” will most likely determine developers to recreate more traditional games and invent new ones to be played in cyberspace. In time, VR might become a place where people can meet, interact, and play together like never before.

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