Does the Future of Online Poker Depend on the Development of a 3D Graphics Engine?

The growth in home based console gaming has seen the rapid development in graphics and game play for gaming enthusiasts. Whist the latest consoles such as the Playstation 3 and XBox 360 have provided a platform for the continual development of home based entertainment, similar moves to produce software platforms of an equal nature for online poker players has proved difficult. However, a few firms are venturing into this arena. The question remains as to whether the time is right to take online entertainment to the next level.

  1. Why make such a bold move?

The gaming company in question are differentiating themselves from other online gaming companies by entering the 3D market. They are also putting themselves in a position where they can test the take up of 3D poker on their own players base.

By making such a bold move the company is benefiting from being first to market, and will aim to attract players from rivals sites. Ultimately the risk faced by the company is relatively small, as the new 3D platform is being run in conjunction with their existing 2D systems.

  1. Have they chosen the right supplier?

The gaming company in question is powered by Microgaming one of the worlds leading online gaming software suppliers, and in choosing a 3D platform from a proving gaming manufacturer, they have picked a supplier that is already integrated into the Microgaming network. This is certainly a big plus, and cannot be underestimated as integration issues into a third party software supplier are commonplace within the gaming industry as a whole, with a number of operators experiencing delays in software roll outs.

However, according to the companies financial records, the Pokerwize 3D product track record is hardly one of success. Owned by Playwize PLC, the AIM listed software supplier, and launched at the end of 2006, Playwize have in their latest financial statements recorded a turnover of £71,000 ($150,000) and a loss of £1.8m ($3.6m). These are hardly figures to please shareholders, and indicate a failure of the 3D Pokerwize platform to get any type of market share amongst the current crop of online poker players.

Reading between the lines, it’s apparent the gaming company in question are going to make a contribution towards development costs in the form of a development fee. This can be taken as acknowledgment that the product as it is now, is not up to the standards of the competition. In PKR poker, Ladbrokes certainly have a benchmark at which to attain. However, whether this benchmark can be achieved within both a reasonable timescale and costs is open to question.

In choosing Pokerwize, Ladbrokes have certainly got a head start on the opposition in moving towards a 3D poker platform. The rest of the gaming industry watches their progress with interest. Only time will tell whether this head start is short lived. What is clear, is that their move into 3D poker represents a significant shift in the online poker industry.