Breaking: PokerStars Trials Webcam Video Chat Tables
PokerStars discreetly released its latest innovation in virtual felt: Webcam powered video chat tables.
The new functionality is part of the latest operator software upgrade and is currently available for Home games in dot-com and EU jurisdictions, Poker industry PRO reported exclusively on Friday.
For now, this new installation is accessible only on the PokerStars web app, and is currently in beta, although it intends to expand the rollout in the New Year, PRO reported.
It has also been suggested that it will extend the functionality to Desktop and Mobile clients in early 2022, after having had time to assess technical factors and reflect on customer feedback. It remains to be seen whether these are public gambling and tournaments.
As the name suggests, on the new optional webcam tables, players are visible through their front camera on their device, running at all times and visible at the table. The mic is also connected to the table for live voice chat.
Players have the option to mute their own microphone and turn off the camera at the table. There is also the option to mute and hide the cameras of opponents.
While other operators have tried webcam tables in the past, this is perhaps the biggest push to the format by a leading operator in many years.
Popularity of private games soars during Covid-19
The fact that PokerStars chose Home Games to test the new feature is certainly noteworthy. The poker landscape, like so many others, has radically changed over the past two yearswith the emphasis on private games as live poker programs have been phased out around the world and thousands of players have flocked to online games, many for the first time.
With the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 and the prospect of restoring restrictions around the world, it’s easy to see why an operator with the global reach of PokerStars focus on the social aspect of online gaming.
Indeed, almost all of the major operators have launched or expanded private gaming options during the pandemic: Unibet, partypoker, 888poker and Winamax have all made a point of prioritizing user-generated games over the two years. last years. It was considered an important part of keeping the poker community together through recent lockdowns.
Unibet was one of the first to respond to the growing appetite for the format and immediately wowed home-related poker fans. by making their tournaments private without rake. It was March 2020, and partypoker followed soon after, in May, with a whole new system of club games. His USP was to use actual player identities rather than screen names.
PokerStars has a long history of having a feature-rich Home Games system, allowing players to run both play money and real money tournaments and cash games. In June 2020, it unveiled a major overhaul of its offering, expanding the games available, adding OMP tournaments, adding new features and, above all, integrating it into mobile applications.
This week’s launch is another major advancement for its Home Games product. The update brings an overhaul, modernizing the design with the dark color scheme now used on other PokerStars products. He also redesigned the lobby and made setting up a new game more intuitive.
Video chat looks set to stay
888 was a pioneer for private games. This launched its “Play with friends” function in 2010, but it increased advertising for the feature while on lockdown, and also quickly added a mobile version. It has also long had a webcam option on dedicated public tables. However, its success was limited there.
GGPoker launched its “SnapCam” capability last August. This allowed players to post “reaction” videos recorded via their webcam and microphone.
Partypoker has also shown an interest in video technology, both for security and sociability. However, he has yet to bring the product to the market.
It will be fascinating to see if these webcam tables in the PokerStars Home Games are successful. If they are, it certainly seems plausible that the operator will seek to bring the technology to its public games, perhaps for special tournaments, final tables, or even dedicated webcam cash game tables.
At this time, webcam tables are available in select jurisdictions in Home Games only, web app only, for players at PokerStars.com and PokerStars.EU.