Gonzo’s Quest Set to Conquer Virtual Reality

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(Newswire.net — March 6, 2017) — The ever popular video slot machine Gonzo’s Quest will be developed and launched in all its Virtual Reality glory by the end of 2017. NetEnt, the Swedish game developer giants announced their first foray into the Virtual Reality (VR) market at the ICE Totally Gaming exhibition held at Excel, London this February.

ICE is one of the largest global land-based and online casino exhibitions attracting industry leaders from all over the world. This year was no exception with 567 exhibitors displaying and over 28,000 delegates attending during its three days.

Casinos, developers, regulators, providers, and other involved parties get together to look at and shape the future in the gambling world for the forthcoming year. Virtual Reality was on many lips this year, with the need to integrate social media and other new technologies to further enhance the igaming experience for the newer generation of millennials who will make or break this exciting and potentially lucrative market sector.

Gonzo’s Quest VR

It seems appropriate that Gonzo’s Quest is the video slot that will get the first virtual makeover from NetEnt’s extensive library of hit games. Originally developed and released as a 3D video slot in 2010, Gonzo’s Quest follows Gonzo, the intrepid conquistador as he journeys deep into the Amazonian Jungle hell-bent on discovering the lost city of gold, Eldorado. Packed with great features including the unique avalanche feature, free fall bonus, free spins and multipliers galore, Gonzo’s Quest is a beautifully designed slot machine with fun animations and potential big wins.

NetEnt’s CEO, Per Eriksson  when announcing the launch of Gonzo’s Quest VR as their first real-money VR slot was quoted as saying “We firmly believe that VR has a given place in the future of online gaming based on our research and the trends we monitor.” It comes as no real surprise that NetEnt now feels it is key to their ongoing strategy to start developing high-end games in VR.

Virtual Reality in a nutshell

Simply put, “Virtual Reality is a realistic and immersive simulation of a three-dimensional environment, created using interactive software and hardware, and experienced or controlled by movement of the body.”  

The hardware comes in the form of a head-mounted display (HMD) that focus on two of humankind’s keenest senses, sight and sound. Development efforts into the other three senses (taste, touch, and smell) are still ongoing.

Recent developments using omnidirectional treadmills allow users to feel they are actually walking through the game simulation whilst haptics or kinesthetic communication has progressed into futuristic ultrasound technology to replicate touch. However, in truth, we are still a way off being able to incorporate all five senses seamlessly into the overall VR experience.

The short history of VR so far

The history of virtual reality may be only decades old but none the less is fascinating

Art is to thank for the earliest attempts in virtual reality with the emergence of 360% artwork in the 1860’s that tricked viewers into believing that a painted part was, in fact, real. “Magic spectacles” was coined way back in 1935 in a short American science fiction story called Pygmalion Spectacles by Stanley G Weinbaum.

Since then there has been years of experimenting around VR, from the first flight simulators in 1931, to Morton Heilig’s “Sensorama” (1962) an arcade -style cabinet designed to stimulate all our senses, to the first head-mounted display (HMD), The Sword of Damocles (1968) invented by Ivan Sutherland, to the first commercial products of the late 80’s pioneered by one Jaron Lanier, developing a range of VR gear including the EyePhone HMD and data gloves.

The 90’s saw movies like Lawnmower Man, Total Recall, and The Matrix make VR hip to a wider audience but the 90’s also witnessed both Sega and Nintendo try and fail to launch VR headsets condemning VR again to the drawing board.

In the last few years, major technological advances in both computers and mobile devices, high-density displays, and 3D graphics capabilities have re-ignited VR development. Factor in that equipment is now more lightweight and practical and that prices for both hardware and software are constantly coming down and it seems that virtual reality is finally available for the masses.

Yet there are still large obstacles for VR to overcome. The biggest stumbling block is VR sickness similar to motion sickness. All developers are looking at ways of further reducing nausea associated with game play. Oculus Rift owned by social media giants Facebook, last December introduced “asynchronous spacewarp” to its development kit to ensure smoother visuals when players turn their heads by reducing the data transfer necessary from 90 frames to 45 frames per second.

With other big competitors like Sony Playstation VR, Valve Corporation, Microsoft, and HTC Vive investing heavily and hundreds of developers making VR games and apps, 2017 is a defining year for VR. Will it be when Virtual Reality finally takes the leap into mainstream reality or will it once again fall into obscurity? The jury is still out if VR is here to stay this time around.