With Facebook/Meta’s announcement of the Metaverse, everyone is expecting virtual reality technology to go mainstream finally, something that many people thought was bound to happen in 2016 yet, failed to transpire. Nevertheless, there is an undoubted VR resurgence as of late, with multiple virtual shared spaces utilizing this tech to provide an immersive 3D experience to their users. Many of these digital environments, such as Decentraland, also have gambling establishments where their enjoyers can partake in VR gambling fun, including Holdem action. That is available at Decentraland’s ICE Poker virtual casino, which hosts up to six thousand unique players per day.
Still, currently, the most popular VR poker games are Poker VR by Mega Particle and PokerStars VR. These are not real-money games but ones that offer fun-play and in-app purchases. Both support the Oculus line of headsets and are downloadable from the Oculus website, their official homepages, and PokerStars VR can also get attained via Value’s Steam platform.
Below we get into an in-depth examination of what it is like to play the world’s most popular card game, through the two mentioned, for fun, software options. If they incorporate money play any time soon, they may even render players visiting card rooms a thing of the past.
The Poker VR Experience
Based in San Francisco, Mega Particle is a Venture Capital-backed start-up with offices in Lahore, Pakistan. They got up and running in 2016, focusing on pioneering social VR applications. In 2017, they released their signature product, Poker VR. It is an expansive multiplier game that lets users create a unique avatar by choosing over one billion customizations. By way of the Oculus controller, this product makes it seem to players like they are playing at a real-life table. But, in this software, they can unlock trophies by winning games, which they can gift to others. Poker VR also has leaderboard challenges and daily tournaments with fixed prize pools. Following its release, Mega Particle announced that this is the highest-grossing free-to-play Oculus Game ever, averaging around fifty cents per user.
Visually, Poker VR is not that impressive compared to modern video games. That said, VR graphics often pale comported to popular high-end titles, so that is not so surprising. The models and environments here, now, look like something out of a Sims game, a dramatic improvement from past versions. Poker VR also allows users to look at the room as a whole before joining a specific table and choose a seat in distinct settings. Overall, the interactivity here is decent, as users can stack their chips any way they see fit and talk trash to each other. However, it may take a while before those unfamiliar with Oculus’s VR controllers can learn how to flip chips and throw cards in different ways. Note that this is a multiplayer game only and that many players complain that their Oculus headsets overheat when enjoying it.
PokerStars VR Explored
In pretty much every department PokerStars VR trumps Poker VR by Mega Particle. The famous defunct Canadian gaming operator, the Stars Group, developed this app. That is a company that got sold to gambling behemoth Flutter Entertainment in 2020. Their product, PokerStars VR, hit the Oculus store in May of 2019, requiring four times the hard disk space of Poker VR, 3.8 GB. It since has expanded its offer by including roulette and slots, and it supports the Quest 2 device. The game has streaming media integration, allowing users to access any streaming video while playing cards, but note that this option is only available for the Rift headset.
Graphically, this is a somewhat more advanced game than Poker VR, despite its avatar options being a bit more cartoony. The texture details here are of better quality, and the virtual exotic venues in Macau and Monte Carlo have much more depth to them. The in-game user interface, launched through a user’s wristwatch, is super helpful. It allows players to view a leaderboard that features profit-to-loss ratios and other handy information. Moreover, another aspect of PokerStars VR that many make-belief gamblers love is the ability of their avatars to take selfies at poker tables. They can use plenty of other in-game options that make them feel like they are at a physical venue instead of a virtual one. Items here get purchased at a store accessible from the same interface where users can look up their stash or move to play slots.
A common grievance many players have regarding this game is that it can frequently crash and that updates can significantly affect its performance. Though, what most enjoy about it is that they can smoke cigars while playing, eat food, and watch streaming channels on the game’s virtual TV sets.
For more gambling news and reviews, visit OUSC.
This is a paid guest post.