Virtual Reality vs Augmented Reality Slots

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VR Slot Machines

Virtual reality (VR) slots have become a relevant topic in gaming on and off again. Major tech companies are investing into VR technology, which makes gamblers excited about the prospects of what virtual reality could mean for casino games.

Augmented reality (AR) is also gaining steam in the gambling world. It too offers potentially life-changing experiences.

VR and AR are sometimes confused. Therefore, some gamblers might think that they have the same effect on slot machines.

The reality, though, is that augmented reality and virtual reality both work differently from each other. I’m going to discuss more on these technologies along with how they each figure to revolutionize slots.

What Is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality refers to technology that creates a simulated experience. It takes you to any place that developers can imagine and create.

Assume, for example, that you want to visit the dinosaur age. VR could transport you to a simulated land where dinosaurs room.

Of course, virtual reality doesn’t arise out of thin air. You need the proper headsets and program to enjoy these experiences.

Facebook’s Oculus Quest, Google Cardboard, and Samsung Gear are all examples of headsets. Once highly expensive, these products have come down in price somewhat.

VR has an interesting effect where it makes you feel like you’re actually in a particular place. If you’ve never been to the Egyptian pyramids, for example, virtual reality makes you feel like the pyramids are right in front of your face.

Again, you do need to purchase a headset or at least use somebody else’s gear. But the experiences that you enjoy can be well worth the price.

Basics of VR Slots

A VR slot machine takes you inside of the game. You wear a headset while playing and, as a result, will feel like the reels are spinning right before you.

Virtual reality gambling has the ability to help you jump into the action. For example, a racing game’s bonus round could make it seem as if you’re actually driving a Formula One car.

VR slot machines aren’t just theoretical either—they’re actually here. NetEnt has already applied this technology to two of their biggest hits in Gonzo’s Quest and Jack and the Beanstalk.

Both games are playable on virtual reality headsets. While playing with a device, you’ll notice that the reels feel much closer than when you’re playing through a screen.

This tech can also provide interesting experiences away from the machines. For example, SlotsMillions features an entire virtual casino that you can walk around and find slot terminals.

Pros & Cons of VR Slot Machines

You may be perfectly fine with playing slots through your smartphone or tablet. But you can take this experience to a new level through virtual reality.

VR essentially removes the screen and puts you into the game. You know longer have to feel like you’re merely viewing a slot from the outside, because you’ll be right there.

Of course, the term virtual reality means that you’re not physically present. But the whole point is to create the illusion that you’re closer to games than ever before.

The biggest problem with virtual reality slot machines, though, is that they’re not very good right now. Gonzo’s Quest may be available in VR, but you’ll probably feel like playing the regular version instead.

I’ve tried the virtual reality version of Gonzo’s Quest and didn’t come away feeling impressed. You will feel like you’re closer to the reels, but you’ll also notice that the graphics appear lackluster compared to the original version.

Of course, slot game developers still have plenty of years to fix these issues. But it doesn’t look like NetEnt nor any other major game studio is rushing to do so.

You also have to worry about buying a headset before playing. Sure, Oculus Quest and Samsung Gear have come down in price, but they’re still a separate cost apart from your smartphone or PC.

What Is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality doesn’t transport you to new worlds like VR. Instead, it merely adds graphics and animations to your real-world environment.

You’ve possibly used AR before and not even realized it. If you rely on Google Maps to find your way around, for example, you’ll eventually see virtual arrows pointing to the desired destination.

Perhaps you’ve played the hit game Pokémon Go. The latter displays various Pokémon characters in real places.

Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok also make use of augmented reality. They allow you to put animations, such as confetti falling around the room, when you create pictures or videos.

Basics of AR Slots

AR doesn’t necessarily form the basis of slot machines. Instead, it will merely enhance your gaming experience.

For Example:

You might play slots at an online casino that allows you to capture and replay big wins. In this case, you could use augmented reality to add enhancements, such as coins or chips flying across the screen.

You can also use AR to show off your wins on social media. After all, you may earn a big prize through a feature and want to brag about it on Facebook or Instagram.

Developers could potentially use augmented reality to give you more options regarding games. Much like social media sites, they allow you to add certain graphics and animations to make things more exciting.

Pros & Cons of AR Slot Machines

AR gives you a degree of control over slot machines. Rather than merely taking what the developers provide, you get to add extra enhancements.

Again, you could add showers of gold coins flying across from the screen after hitting a big bonus win. You might then share this display via social media.

Assuming developers ever add the option, you could also enhance the games themselves. If you’re playing a winter-themed slot, you might choose to add falling snow.

The Drawback With AR:

It doesn’t form the core gameplay. It merely adds entertainment to the experience.

You might be able to put meteor showers in the background of a space-themed game, but you’re not going to totally change the slot itself. Contrast this scenario to virtual reality, which creates an entirely new world and experience for you.

Finally, much involving augmented reality is merely theoretical right now. Developers don’t currently give you options to add elements to games—I’m merely proposing that they could do this through AR.

Virtual reality slots may not look the greatest yet. However, they’re tangible products that are actually here in limited quantity. AR is still more about potential regarding slot machines than reality.

Are VR or AR Slots Better?

It’s difficult to say whether augmented or virtual reality slot machines are better. In truth, these technologies accomplish different things.

Virtual reality can actually form the basis for a game. Or, it can be added to an existing slot, like with Jack and the Beanstalk or Gonzo’s Quest.

Augmented reality gives you the opportunity to make slot machines more entertaining. At the moment, you can share wins through social media and add graphics/animations with AR.

My hope is that developers eventually give you some cool augmented reality options. For now, though, you’ll just have to settle on what’s available.

The one clear thing is that both technologies can improve slot machines moving forward. Developers will likely dive more into VR and AR within the next five years.


Many online slots players seem perfectly fine with the 3D games of today. Likewise, developers keep pushing out 3D slots and having success with them.

But both virtual and augmented reality figure to become a bigger part of gaming within the next few years. Each type of technology improves slots in a different way.

VR will actually form the underlying foundation of games. Meanwhile, AR will allow users to add their own touch to slot machines.

The only question is, when can we expect to see virtual reality and augmented reality take more-prominent roles? This could happen within the next few years, or it could take up to a decade or longer. Hopefully, the former timeline is more accurate.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for since early 2016. ...

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