Slot machine maker International Game Technology Plc (IGT) has a partnership with HTC Vive to develop virtual reality technology usable in casinos, according to a press release from the latter brand.
HTC Vive is a range of virtual reality hardware products developed by HTC Vive Tech Corp, a unit of HTC Corp, a Taiwan-based technology company that has specialised in making mobile digital devices.
GGRAsia approached IGT to ask for its comment on the announcement but had not received a reply by the time the story went online.
“IGT will leverage HTC Vive Studios’ world-class virtual reality content within its [IGT’s] ‘Virtual Zone’ platform on casino floors,” said Tuesday’s release issued in the name of HTC Vive.
It added that IGT’s Virtual Zone was a “competition arena designed for casino environments that enables casino patrons to compete against each other for cash prizes in… virtual reality tournaments,” noting the cash prizes involved what it termed “slot dollars”.
Joel Breton, HTC Vive’s vice president of global content, was quoted as saying in the release: “Arcade-like installations and experiences are skyrocketing across the globe as virtual reality has proven to be a consistent traffic generator in entertainment venues.”
He added: “By combining IGT’s gaming expertise and the world’s best virtual reality in HTC Vive, we are launching a combined platform that can deploy the best complete experiences for virtual reality tournaments or standalone virtual reality arcades.”
The press release also quoted Enrico Drago, IGT senior vice president for global product marketing interactive, betting and licensing, as saying that HTC Vive was the “ideal partner” for IGT’s first commercialised virtual reality product, called ‘Virtual Zone’.
“‘Virtual Zone’ … represents an important step in diversifying IGT’s portfolio with unique offerings that can differentiate our customers’ casino floors and entertain a broad demographic of players,” said Mr Drago as quoted in the release.
The announcement said IGT had published a software development kit to assist game designers to develop virtual reality content for the ‘Virtual Zone’.
The release clarified that the IGT ‘Virtual Zone’ was at Boyd Gaming Corp’s venue The Orleans Hotel and Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the United States.
New categories of competition or game designed for use on a casino floor typically require the approval of local regulators before they are allowed to go live. So-called e-Sports competitions using other forms of digital technology have also been held recently on the premises of several casino hotels in Las Vegas, according to local media reports. Several e-Sports events have also been promoted in Macau by some of Macau casino operators, but they have not been held on casino premises.
Casino industry commentators have for several years been discussing whether the industry needs to retool to add products other than traditional slot machines, in order to appeal to so-called millennials – consumers that came to adulthood at the turn of the current century.
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