The Stars Group is the parent company of gaming brands such as PokerStars, as well as the owner of Sky Betting & Gaming. Through PokerStars, the gaming giant is now trying its hand at virtual reality.
PokerStars VR is available to download and play for free in all of the brand’s global markets, following a closed beta test that saw more than 150 invitees play and test it using Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
The VR experience is available to download through the Oculus and Viveport stores, as well as Steam.
The Stars Group said that players worldwide can experience what happens when the worlds of live and online poker collide from the comfort of their own home. PokerStars VR was developed in collaboration with virtual reality developer Lucky VR and provides a mix of serious gameplay, fun interactivity and social engagement.
Players have the opportunity to become fully immersed in a variety of social poker scenes, choosing their own environment to play in, including Macau 2050, The Macau Suite, The Showdown Saloon, Monte-Carlo Yacht, and The Void.
Using intuitive controls for easy gameplay, they can also handle chips and cards, and pick up on tells, talk and interact just as they would at a live table. The game also features a host of interactive props to have fun with, voice command, and integrated Twitch broadcasting and media streaming on Oculus Rift for those who wish to play and stream.
Severin Rasset, director of poker innovation and operations at PokerStars, said: “When we showcased the product it was amazing to see people really enjoy and become engrossed in the game.”
“We wanted to venture into the world of virtual reality because we believe it is an exciting avenue of technology to explore and something that our players would appreciate. I highly recommend that everyone tries out the game as it can only truly be understood and enjoyed by experiencing it.”
The new game simulates the live poker experience as closely as possible, bringing the same subtleties and interactions to an online environment. According to The Stars Group, much work has gone into recreating the atmosphere of a live poker game, including features such as chip stacking, card-peeking and the ability to try to get a genuine read on opponents, giving bluffing a whole new dimension.