Back in 2014, Mark Zuckerberg made a $3 billion dollar bet through the acquisition of Oculus Rift that virtual reality (VR) would soon become one of the most social platforms that ever existed.
Fast forward to 2018 and very few VR companies have been successful (including Facebook) at building social communities that can bring users together into virtual worlds with real meaning and purpose. AltspaceVR and Rec Room are two noteable social VR experiences that have received some acclaim, but are still lacking a core ingredient to drive up behavior and keep people engaged. That ingredient is passion. I mean, how often can you play frisbee toss next to a virtual tree with some creepy avatar invading your space without asking yourself, what the heck am I doing in here? Insert the lifestyle and global community of poker and you now have a winning formula.
PokerStars, the world’s most popular online poker site has now launched a free-to-play VR experience that truly ups the ante and will change both online-game-play and social VR simultaneously for the international poker community.
At launch, there is no real currency changing hands in this VR world but that doesn’t take away from the loads of fast moving excitement that PokerStars VR brings to its users from inception. This immersive experience mixes all the fun of real-world poker with cutting edge visuals, physics and design to transport you to the front line of interactive, multiplayer Texas Hold’em action. You now have instant access to take on your friends, challenge PokerStars Ambassadors or battle Twitch streamers in one of the most exciting new VR games on the planet. Whether you’re a beginner (like myself) or a seasoned card shark, PokerStars VR is an experience you will definitely want to hang out in!
Monte-Carlo Yacht: Take to the high seas & play for high stakes in PokerStars VR
VR is designed to take us into immersive worlds and environments that can go well beyond our wildest imaginations and this experience certainly doesn’t disappoint. So strap on your headset and prepare to take an escape from the real world and enjoy an authentic high-roller experience with visually stunning locations and jaw dropping graphics. PokerStars VR gives you freedom to live like a boss and connect with friends and a global community of poker enthusiasts at some of the worlds most lush gaming environments from the comforts of your crib.
Macau 2050: A futuristic re-imagining of Macau by night in PokerStars VR
Exotic locations include:
- Macau 2050: A futuristic re-imagining of Macau by night
- The Macau Suite: An opulent yet intimate environment, complete with 360 degree tropical fish tank
- The Showdown Saloon: Play out your cowboy fantasies in a classic Wild West saloon
- The Monte-Carlo Yacht: Take to the high seas as you play for high stakes
- The Void: Play with no distractions in the endless blackness – it’s all about the game!
The Void: Play with no distractions in endless blackness – PokerStars VR
From an entertainment aspect, PokerStars really pulled out all the stops to encourage social behavior and entice high levels of fun & laughter, giving users an incredibly authentic experience. One of the key features I enjoyed most was the ability to socialize and chat in real time with your friends while also keeping the table fun and entertaining with interactive props and toys that elicit loads of laughter from the players around you.For example, props like cigars, bottles of champagne, flare guns and so much more add layers of hysterics that will keep the entire group bursting into tears. (I must have virtually dropped 3 burning cigars in my lap and doused the entire table in top shelf champagne)And finally, the state of the art physics and game mechanics allow you to handle your chips and cards just as you would during real play, adding realistic sounds and movements that simply complete the entire experience. (It’s the many small details you will continue to notice)An additional feature I think is cool but somewhat limited right now is the streaming media integration. This will allow access to your desktop or any streaming video while you play but at the moment is only available for the Oculus Rift.
Current Platforms: Currently PokerStars VR is available for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive & Stream.
PokerStars may just be scratching the surface with this experience because the ability to continue to open up additional experiences like casino locations, music, entertainment, night clubs, lounges, avatar customization and so much more is simply limitless.From a hardware perspective, I’m eager to watch the expansion across lower barrier VR devices like Samsung’s Gear VR, which is powered by Oculus and can offer some incredibly similar mobile VR capabilities to the Oculus Rift including a hand controller and exceptional graphics. Playstation VR would also be a great addition to the list. For now, I will be logging in from my Oculus Rift and meeting up with my pal and PokerStars champ Big Chips! Hope to see you at the casino!
KEITH CURTIN @KFCurtin Founder of See Digital Keith Curtin is an Entrepreneur, Brand Marketing Executive & Founder of See Digital, a consultancy firm specializing in Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality & Mixed Reality. He was recently named #1 on Onayltica’s Augmented Reality Top 100 Brands & Influencers” list.Keith has consulted with hundreds of Fortune 1000 global brands to help them develop and execute first of a kind Augmented Reality activations including: Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Nestle, Kraft Foods, Kellogg’s, Mondelez, Mars Foods, Disney, Nickelodeon, Walmart Target, 7-Eleven, Anheuser Busch, Heineken, LVMH, Diageo and many others.