Google Chrome, which by far the most popular and used web browser on the market started recently working natively with arguably the most popular VR headset – Oculus Rift, as well as Oculus Touch controllers that are used with it.
The new functionality was pointed out by a Reddit user, who discovered a flag (experimental new feature) called “Oculus hardware support” in browser’s settings. Another user tested it by enabling the functionality and launching the Google Mars surface demo. The user pointed out that without the flag enabled, a desktop 360-degree view option is offered, while after enabling it, the demo launches directly to the headset.
The new functionality currently works only in the Windows version of the browser. It can be launched by typing “chrome://flags” into the browser’s address bar, searching for “Oculus hardware support” and enabling it.
Virtual Reality Gaming And Gambling
Two big industries in which we expect VR to have a massive impact are gaming and gambling. The first one needs no introduction, as games are probably most talked about out of everything virtual reality can be used for. That’s why we’ll focus mostly in the latter, less-developed industry with great potential for VR – gambling.
Online gambling is definitely popular, but there is something always missing from it when compared to land-based casinos. Nice casino lobbies and interiors, unique atmosphere and the social aspect of meeting other people. All of these are simply missing from online casinos, maybe apart from live dealer games in which players can actually communicate with the dealer.
The concept of VR casinos, in which players can walk around, choose a game to play and then enjoy it might be quite interesting for some players. Of course, some casino games are better suited for VR than others. If you know how slot machines work, you might think that it’s just about a player and a machine and there is not that much to be added to that experience.
However, that’s not true. Not at all. There are working demos of some virtual reality slot machines, which are pretty amazing. Most regular slot machines have a theme and environment they take place in. Imagine being taken into that world and experiencing the slot machines on an entirely different level. That’s what VR slots can achieve. Just take a look at this demo of a VR slot machine by NetEnt.
Table games like roulette, craps, blackjack or poker can be much improved by VR because there is a social aspect to it. The table is shared by multiple people most of the time, which can be nicely simulated in the virtual world, although nobody was able to do it convincingly so far. Most of the VR table games available right now are honestly quite boring.
Of course, VR casinos are not just something that we can expect in the future. It’s already happening now – just take a look at Poker VR for Oculus Rift. There already are some casinos that support VR gaming, although it’s fair to expect the technologies and the overall experience to be getting much better quite rapidly.
The Future Of Virtual Reality
After taking a quick peek into Google Trends, it’s noticeable that the interest in VR is stagnating. It has a fan base of people that enjoy the new technology a lot, however, it’s quite fair to say that the industry is not experiencing the great growth some people might expect.
It’s news like this that can increase VR’s popularity. When the technology becomes better and more accessible, and when there are more and more applications that can be enjoyed in virtual reality, there can be another great increase in this medium’s popularity. Chrome’s support for Oculus Rift is just a small step in this process, but any help is good for the industry.
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