Virtual reality gaming has been the dream for first person shooter (FPS) game and massively multiplayer online games (MMOG) for ages, but it hasn’t been thought of as an addition to poker until now. Talks of incorporating the Oculus Rift with online poker have recently surfaced and are getting players excited.
Introducing the Oculus Rift
Image via Flickr by Sergey Galyonkin
If you haven’t seen the Oculus Rift before, it’s a sight to behold. The product is essentially a pair of “goggles” that work seamlessly with certain games to provide an incredible virtual reality experience.
Just recently, the company was acquired by Facebook for $2 Billion, a major investment into the future potential of online gaming. Your eyes see a 1080p resolution on a 7-inch OLED screen. It keeps track of your head movements and relays them to the game, introducing some amazing possibilities. For the most part this technology is still in the testing phase of its development, only being released to game developers to work with, but should be coming out for consumer use in late 2014 or 2015.
How Does it Work for Poker
As noted initially, poker and traditional gaming doesn’t really go together, but virtual reality might just make it feasible. Not only would it be fairly simple to build a realistic poker game (compared to other video games), it would be able to add some of the environment that online players often miss.
Some players are unable to play live due to disabilities or sickness, while others are simply too far away or have no way of getting to a nearby casino or game. A virtual reality headset would allow you to immediately be immersed in a live poker situation.
Another way to think of this type of gaming is as a hybrid between live and online poker. You can combine the best aspects of online poker, with the look and feel of live poker, essentially getting the best of both worlds.
A likely setup would be to combine a virtual reality headset like the Oculus Rift (or any of its competitors) with a gaming system with motion-sensing capability like the Xbox One’s Kinect. This would allow you to not only look around and sense the environment, but to interact with real chips and hand movements. Until the holodeck from Star Trek is invented, this will be the closest you will get to immersive poker in your own home.
While all this could still be a year or two off before it comes a reality, the fact that pieces are in motion means that this is a very real and exciting possibility for poker players around the world.