As part of an ongoing programme to establish and develop relationships with startups, Kindred Futures partnered with startup software developer Lucky VR to explore cutting-edge developments in virtual reality. Founded in 2014, Lucky VR specialises in developing immersive VR experiences based on traditional casino games. Kindred partnered with Lucky VR to drive development of their immersive poker product and explore a potentially exciting new customer experience.
Just a few years ago, the idea of virtual reality seemed peculiar. Nowadays, the applications of VR have extended beyond gaming into other forms of entertainment such as film and sports and further into education and healthcare. Although still a relatively new concept, the immersive and emotionally engaging platform is considered to have the potential to revolutionise the way that almost all media is consumed. Whether this revolution changes online gaming entirely and creates a new world of online poker is too early to say, but the disruptive potential it holds is definitely worth exploring.
Kindred’s partnership with Lucky VR aims to co-create a new VR experience which keeps poker at the forefront of technological development and even ahead of much of the rest of the entertainment industry. As an experience, we believe virtual reality poker has the ability to appeal to online poker players, and live players. It offers a more human experience closer to the live game, but in the comfort of your own home, and we believe can bring together casual, live and online players. The game is unique in that it allows gamers to both physically and verbally interact with each other, facilitating a truly social experience.
A trial at the Unibet Copenhagen Open provided insight from nine influential eSports players who live streamed through Twitch. eSports players bring a non-poker perspective on the current trends in gaming and provided vital insight into what resonates with online audiences.
The feedback provided so far indicates that this could be a popular product, but there are considerable barriers and considerations before it could ever become a reality.
Poker as a game relies on a high number of users to allow each to play at their desired level and stakes, but the cost of the hardware and the current lack of content limits uptake of VR. Could this be solved by merging VR and traditional online players? Could it be a product that focuses on weekly tournaments? The overall online poker market has also seen a decline in recent years; Unibet’s Relax driven engine is bucking this trend, and could VR continue the resurgence with more player-centric experiences? Regulations and responsible gaming considerations will also need to be addressed, but the promise of the technology and the response it’s received means these challenges are well worth tackling.
Watch this space.