Although VR has been on the horizon in the gaming world for quite some time, recent talk of the ‘MetaVerse’ by Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has brought this potentially revolutionary technology into the spotlight once again.
The online gambling market is one recreational sector where VR is predicted to take off in the coming years.
The online gambling sector provides a particularly good example of how VR technology is being picked up by developers. Many of the online casinos listed on the likes of SuperLenny.com have already either hinted at or made announcements regarding their intention to further invest in this technology.
Although it is still relatively early days, industry analysts predict that VR will revolutionise the online gambling experience. And this is true for both online casinos and sports betting platforms.
One recently published industry report has predicted that the VR gambling market share is expected to rise to a staggering $1.74 billion between 2020 and 2025, with a compounding annual growth rate of 53.13%. Although this figure is still a relatively small slice of the global online gambling market, it represents a significant figure for this relatively new, emerging technology.
In certain respects, the online gambling and online casino sector is the perfect home for VR, given that this industry has always responded well to emerging technologies. The casino sector was one of the earliest to adopt the digital and online revolution from the 1990s onwards. And this tendency has continued into other technological innovations such as mobile devices and, most recently, cryptocurrencies.
With that said, in the coming years, we can expect to see the major players in the online casino sector embrace VR and find new and creative ways to put it to use.
At the minute, one of the biggest obstacles to this is the relatively high cost of acquiring virtual reality headsets. Although as technology advances, we can expect the price to decrease significantly.
With this general market overview in mind, what are some of the ways that online casinos will use VR technology to improve the gaming experience?
Possible uses for VR in casinos
Beyond allowing us to be immersed in a virtual gaming environment to take part in online casino games in real-time, there are several specific features developers might implement to make the VR gaming experience seem that little bit more real. This may include:
- In-game lobby and socialising areas: Here, you will be able to go to virtual socialising spaces between games and interact with other players or catch up with friends.
- Immersive 3D gaming tables: VR technology will allow for gaming tables with an unrivalled sense of realism. Instead of simply seeing your hand of cards displayed on the screen, you will be able to move and manipulate them in real-time and place them on the table. You might even be able to dramatically throw chips into the pile when you want to up your ante!
- Display and observe hand and body gestures: The ability to spot subtle changes in body or hand gestures would bring an incredible sense of realism to a game of virtual poker.
- Stroll through the casino floor in real-time: Rather than endlessly flicking through the extensive catalogue of games offered by your online casino of choice, you could walk through a virtual casino floor in real-time. This would be an incredibly immersive way of choosing what game you want to play next!
The future of VR casinos?
Although the limits of this technology are only the limits of our imagination in putting it to use, there are nevertheless some lingering questions about what the future holds for VR in the gambling sector.
And while we have already seen some very promising applications of what this technology might be able to achieve, developing these and delivering them at an appropriate scale will require significant development resources. However, these development resources will only be justified where there is consumer demand. And with VR headsets still prohibitively expensive for many players—especially more casual online casino fans—the level of demand might not justify the investment required.
With that said, although VR looks set to revolutionise the online casino world, this future might still be a few years away.
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