How Virtual Reality will Change Casual Games
Virtual reality is the “next big thing”, just not in the way many of us think it is. Instead of taking the world by storm in the way smartphones did a decade ago, this new technology will creep slowly but steadily into our everyday lives, in various forms and various levels of immersion from smart glasses that will add a HUD or an information overlay to the world surrounding us to wearable holographic computers that will lock us inside a completely lifelike virtual universe. And with new forms of reality, we’ll also get new forms of content to consume, tailor made to fit the fresh technologies. This means different forms of media and entertainment from the bottom up.
Our favorite casual games have been mostly unchanged in the last decade or so aside from “invading” different platforms. The games that had to be downloaded once have moved to web browsers first, and smartphones later. In the future, they will surely “invade” mixed and virtual realities, too – but to be successful in these new environments, they will need to adapt.
The game library at www.wintingo.com/games is completely browser-based, both on desktop devices and smartphones. A decade ago, gaming venues like the Wintingo would focus completely on downloadable content, limiting their reach to users of Windows-based PCs. Today, in turn, downloading and installing software on desktop PCs has become a less attractive option. Thus, gaming operators have moved part of their content to the web browser, with some of them – like Wintingo – focusing exclusively on this more accessible variant. Aside from being more accessible, a browser-based gaming venue can also offer more variety. The above-mentioned Wintingo doesn’t focus on the content of a single provider but has built its library from multiple sources, selecting the best options for its players. And it’s ready to take the next step into the virtual world.
Simply shoving all its games into a VR interface would hardly do the trick, though. What gaming operators and portals should consider instead is inventing a new environment in which players could share their experience, socialize, and play together. This, of course, means shifting away from today’s single-player games (even social games are basically single-player) toward others that can truly be played together in a virtual environment.
For the near future – after virtual reality shifts toward the mainstream – I think we’ll see the revival of classics like chess and backgammon, not to mention card games like bridge, poker, and – why not – blackjack. Hopefully, board games will also find their place in the virtual environment, offering not only an experience similar to playing them in real life but also a richer, more exciting gameplay.