Is Virtual Reality in Online Casinos Ready For Lift Off?
The gambling industry has been historically very responsive to the changing face of technology. In the 90s, the Internet came along and changed the game forever. Then mobile emerged as the next big frontier, which continues to grow in market share as casinos develop better offerings and software developers create better games. Now, a host of other new technologies are poised to have a significant impact on the face of gambling as we know it.
One of the most exciting is virtual reality gaming, which offers players the chance to enjoy a wholly immersive experience. Some in the online casino industry see this as a technology with significant potential, particularly in slots and in live gaming-style scenarios. The technology itself is already in advanced stages of development, and several game developers have already showcased what they can do.
For the time being, virtual reality gambling remains a niche interest, but it's growing by the day. So is this truly the next big development to take the gambling world by storm, or are we much less likely to be donning our VR headsets anytime soon?
Why VR Could Be Huge
Virtual reality has the potential to become an entirely new sector of the gambling market. In the same way that live gaming or slots as genres have become popular, almost in their own right, virtual reality gaming could be set to be the next to follow that trend. The games have the potential to be significantly more exciting and engaging than the best online casinos have to offer today.
Players could be immersed in the world of their chosen slot theme, for example, with wins coming from 360-degrees. Or players could take a seat in a virtual world alongside other human players, closely mimicking the experience of playing at a real casino, to bring a whole new dimension to live gaming.
It might even be possible to have players visit land-based casinos in a virtual render, with realism that can barely be conceived of today. If you think how far mobile casinos have come since they were first launched, it's not too hard to imagine a future that's VR dominated.
VR - Just Another Gimmick?
On the other hand, the technology is not without its critics. While few would doubt the technical impressiveness of VR, or the enjoyability of playing even the earliest games for the medium, it has a strong sense of gimmick about it. We've seen it time and time before - technology that's hyped as the next big thing goes on to become little more than a passing fad. While development and resources are already behind VR, it does face the risk that it too could see its time wick and wane.
It's hard to know at this stage whether VR is just another gimmick, but it feels like it has enough quality in the gaming experience to make it stick. As more casinos and games developers get on board, it remains to be seen whether VR can ever reach the point of critical mass.
The Stumbling Block For VR Gaming
Arguably the single central challenge to VR gaming becoming a hugely popular medium is the requirement for specialist hardware. At the moment, you'd be hard pressed to find many people who own VR headsets, beyond those very earliest adopters. The technology is still in its infancy, and there is limited content so far that might inspire greater uptake. This is a huge stumbling block for truly VR experiences, compared to new games developed for mobile, for example.
However, this is a moving picture, and there's no doubt that virtual reality will have gained somewhat in popularity and presence over the next couple of years. But before VR can truly escape being a passing phase, it needs to overcome this obstacle.
A Projection For Virtual Reality Gambling
While there are no doubt some challenges still awaiting VR gaming as a genre, it does have serious potential for becoming a significant part of the gambling sector. Resources are mobilising behind developing excellent gaming experiences, and these could well drive further interest in the gambling community about what VR has to offer, with game designers and casino operators working in tandem to build the offering.
As a projection for virtual reality, expect big things over the next 18-24 months. If virtual reality as a medium continues to gain traction more broadly, it could well be the next big thing to land in the world of online gambling.