PKR may be finished, but the spirit of innovation in poker lives on

  • Kindred Futures – part of Kindred Group – involved in exploring new virtual reality pokers technology/strong>
  • Casino giant collaborates with VR specialist and developer, Lucky VR to trail new software

Unibet VR Casino

PKR was the first 3D virtual reality online poker software to hit the market. It was well ahead of its time in terms of inventiveness and vision, but as it turned out, all of this wasn’t enough to keep it afloat.

Despite the fact that PKR has recently suffered a sad demise, the spirit of exploring new and innovative ways of playing poker appears to live on among some of the industry’s leading names.

Only last week Kindred Futures – the innovation arm of Kindred Group, an online gambling company formerly known as Unibet Group, collaborated with software developer Lucky VR to explore cutting-edge poker technology.

The new pioneering VR poker game is being developed by Lucky VR with the aim of giving players a more immersive, engaging way of enjoying the game they love.

Using the popular Oculus Rift VR headset, the game was given its first test-run at Kindred’s Unibet Copenhagen Open tournament and was also shown worldwide via a live stream on streaming channel, Twitch.

eSports stars instead of poker players

The Unibet Open in Copenhagen took place May 25th-28th. In line with Kindred Group’s policy of focusing on recreational players and fun elements in poker, the pilot session didn’t involve any serious, big-name poker professionals. Instead, the company invited nine eSports stars to join its Battle Royale V, giving a glimpse into future possibilities of online casino gameplay.

With the likes of Alan ‘Hotted89’ Widmann and Sophia ‘djarii’ White in the mix, the test session saw Lucky VR’s tech receive some positive feedback.

“It was great playing with friends, fooling around and having fun. VR is an extremely new technology but it has great potential and it’s exciting to see what’s already possible,” said Widmann.

Lucky VR, designs and develops innovative VR experiences, specialising in casino content. As a start-up business, launched in 2014, it’s a real positive for it and its technology to have the support of Kindred.

According to Kindred’s Will Mace, Kindred’s part in the collaboration was to collate and provide player insight and valuable information about what to expect from the software, as well as how it could be improved to deliver the ultimate playing experience.

With VR poker being a rather new and untested concept (apart from the PKR), this more cautious and methodic approach will no doubt give the best possible chance of the industry seeing another VR poker game or casino in the future.

Has the time come?

When PKR rolled out its 3D poker client, although it was popular with some players, it simply had to deal with many technical difficulties and limitations. As much as it certainly wanted, it wasn’t able to offer players a fully immersive and interactive experience.

With technological advancements we’ve seen during the last few years, the market could finally be ready for a fully-fledged virtual reality poker played using VR goggles and other accompanying equipment.

It remains to be seen how the whole idea will go over with the players, especially since accessories like Oculus Rift are still quite pricey, but it seems the spirit and idea of VR poker will continue to live through Lucky VR.

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