The winner of the recent LaunchPad competition at EiG in Berlin CasinoVR has announced the launch of the beta version of its own virtual reality casino.
A free-to-play multi-player poker game for Oculus Rift DK2 features a casino environment with six poker tables which player can join and play against each other. The virtual reality system allows players to talk to each other at the table and features real-life player movements, meaning other payers can see you looking at your cards or looking around the table.
Speaking to GamCrowd in Berlin at the time of the EiG launchPad competition, founder and managing director of CasinoVR Marco Kobelt said that the company was keen on launching its product ahead of the virtual reality curve.
“Timing is definitely early,” he told GamCrowd News. “That is why we have started with poker; the early adopters are in California, mostly they are hardcore gamers, but they really like poker. We want to launch a beta with the early-adopters of VR technology who already have a head set. We have gathered a lot of interest. We will test out product and improve it.”
Kobelt added that the Oculus Rift consumer headset is likely to be launched in February or March this year. “We want to be ready for March and at the same time be ready for the other platforms,” he added. “It’s a bit early, but early next year it will take off. It is quite complex technology, so it’s good to have the time to make the game a really enjoyable experience.”
CasinoVR currently has seed funding and it is now seeking first-round funding to the tune of $1.2m. The seed round came from business angels but the company hopes to be tapping into mainstream venture capitalists and other business angels for the next round of funding. “In order to build that we really need the investment, and that would also take us through for the launch of these consumer products next year,” Kobelt said in September.
The company will be hoping that virtual reality poker can help revive the online poker experience. “The use case is biggest for VR in poker; it is a multi-player game with a lot of social interaction,” said Kobelt. “We really believe that VR is not only about feeling you are there, but you also want to have it so people can –play and act like they are in a real casino.”
CasinoVR may be for the early-adopters in the virtual reality space, but many experts are predicting that VR will go mainstream this year. Over the Christmas period, Samsung produced an advertisement for the US market promoting its own link-up with Oculus featuring US basketball star LeBron James.