Carnival, the operator of more than 100 cruise ships, is taking a deeper dive into digital entertainment with the launch of PlayOcean, a collection of mobile games for iOS and Google Play.
The games are part of a larger digital entertainment initiative to keep guests entertained, when they are on board Carnival cruises or when they’re on dry land. Like with Carnival’s Ocean Medallion wearables, introduced at this year’s CES show in January, the idea is to engage with guests anytime, anywhere. PlayOcean is designed for the “vacation market” that Carnival wants to own.
The Miami company has created two apps, PlayOcean Everywhere and PlayOcean Casino, which can be played for fun on land and for money at sea, respectively. PlayOcean Everywhere features four free-to-play mobile games, while PlayOcean Casino has a combination of social casino games (where you can buy virtual casino chips but can’t exchange them for real money) and real-money gambling games, where you can bet and win or lose real money.
The interesting thing about the PlayOcean Casino is that it complies with local gambling laws. While you are on land, you can play for virtual coins. But at sea, you can play it for real money, as gambling is legal at sea. The PlayOcean Casino app will be available for game play later this year on the company’s Princess Cruises Medallion Class ships.
Carnival Corporation will celebrate the official availability of PlayOcean on Thursday with an event in Times Square that synchronizes multiple digital billboards to showcase the new games, as well as an activation center where people can learn more. The company will also use the event to demonstrate its new OceanView digital streaming channel that provides global consumers with completely free access to entertainment on land and at sea.
The apps tap into the same Ocean experience platform that Carnival announced in January. With the Medallion wearable, you can walk around a cruise ship and order drinks that can be delivered to your location. You can also use the Medallion to activate an interactive exhibit on board the ship.
“The growing global demand for gaming across all audiences is undeniable – and the combination of social, competitive, chance and location-based games available within PlayOcean give us an opportunity to engage broader audiences in the unique experiences and fun associated with our cruise vacations,” said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival, in a statement. “Most importantly, PlayOcean gives our guests the ultimate flexibility to engage in experiences when, where and how they choose — at home, on a plane, relaxing in their stateroom or poolside.”
The games in the casino app include Queen Sea Poker, Roulette on Deck, and Bingo on Deck. Each has some kind of interactive element on board the cruise ship. You can, for instance, use your mobile phone or a traditional bingo card to play the bingo game with other people. This pretty much means there’s almost nowhere on Earth where you can escape games — not even the high seas.