Online gaming technology outfit GAN has announced its first virtual reality product using Facebook’s Oculus Rift technology.
On Thursday, GAN (formerly known as GameAccount Network) announced it had launched a virtual reality version of its free-play Simulated Gaming product compatible with home computers equipped with Oculus Rift VR headsets. New York’s Empire City Casino, GAN’s first “continuing” US client, has agreed to be the VR guinea pig.
GAN CEO Dermot Smurfit said the appeal of his company’s VR add-on module would initially be limited to men aged 30-54 years but Smurfit said “dismissing consumer VR is naïve” and predicted that VR will become “the next major internet platform.”
Smurfit said GAN would be rolling out a VR version of its real-money online gambling platform for customers in New Jersey sometime in H2 2016, subject to regulatory approval. Smurfit believes VR technology will “dramatically close the gap” between the live casino experience and the “flat two-dimensional” rendering currently available via computers and mobile devices.
The pricey Oculus Rift headsets only just began shipping to consumers on Monday after being available to developers for an extended period in the hopes they would develop end-user products. The headsets cost a hefty $600, so it will take some time before the product breaks out of its early adopter phase to reach critical mass, assuming end users won’t opt for the infinitely cheaper Google Cardboard VR product.
GAN is far from the only technology firm to marry online gaming with Oculus Rift. In December, Swiss firm Casino VR announced the beta launch of its free-play multiplayer Casino VR: Poker app. A sample impression of the app can be viewed below, complete with vertigo-inducing head-bobbing and the apparently mandatory inclusion of virtual profanity.