PokerStars has announced plans to release a free-play virtual reality (VR) platform that’s will set the tone for online poker of the future.
Breaking the news on September 20, PokerStars has said the exact release date for its VR project is being kept under wraps for now. However, when the product goes live later this year, it will not only showcase the latest VR capabilities but provide an immersive poker experience.
Although fledging VR poker software has been around for the last 18 months, this is the first time a major brand like PokerStars has entered the market. In reading the preview, the intention is to create a platform that’s not only feels like a video game but provides a true poker experience.
Serious About Having Fun
As well as provisions to flip cards, riffle chips and move 360 degrees around the table, PokerStars VR will feature stats and player labels.
“We don’t just mean in the exotic virtual reality settings (think Macau 2050 or a Monte Carlo yacht) but with statistics. All the numbers, as well as observations about other players, are all available to you, because it’s still all about the poker,” reads the September 20 press release.
Giving players the ability to get physical and statistical reads from their opponents should be a major selling point for serious players. Although options such as throwing food at players will make PokerStars VR entertaining, this alone would render it nothing more than a novelty.
More than a Novelty Product
For online poker to truly transaction from 2D to 3D gaming, VR products need to have a serious side. Even though causal players have become the main target for PR teams across the industry in recent years, regulars form the backbone of any site.
To ensure VR poker offers a potentially profitable playing space for skilled players, the inclusion of hardcore features like betting statistics is vital. PokerStars will be hoping its VR software can strike a balance between entertainment and serious action and, in turn, set the tone for future innovations.
PokerStars VR is currently in a closed beta testing phase. Following its initial preview at the EuroGamer conference in mid-September, 100 hand-picked players have been trialing the software in private.
So far, feedback on features such as voice controls has been positive, but PokerStars will be looking to refine the product with the help of its partner Lucky VR before the official release later this year.