Can Virtual Reality Still Become Reality For Online Casinos?
June 26, 2018 3:01 AM
by David Cash
To list the ways in which online casino brands have helped to revolutionize the world of gaming would create enough words for a feature-length article of its own. The list would probably be topped by the feat of making games more accessible and more democratic; gambling is now no longer something associated with a few days in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. The online revolution has made accessing games on the go straightforward, has removed the barriers of having to travel to a casino in order to play, and has helped to educate newcomers (thanks to educational guides and free to play modes on popular games) to such a level that they feel comfortable taking on those with far more experience than themselves.
It would, therefore, be straightforward to think that success brings with it more success and that online casinos are going to continue to innovate in order to make the various games open to consumers more interactive and more playable. However, this sort of forward progression doesn’t always come easily and without extraordinary effort on behalf of brands. Indeed, while the US Supreme Court has done its bit to make sportsbook gambling easier, some game developers in the online realm seem stuck in an age where they are keener to see 73-year-old Rod Stewart performing at 4,298- seat capacity Caesars than they are to embrace changes that could further revolutionize online gaming.
A new, virtual world
One of these big changes, could (and arguably should) be the full embracing of virtual reality technology. This change could be especially interesting given that Las Vegas itself is in need of a degree of innovation to save the casinos from becoming monuments to past glories. Gambling is no longer the sole money-maker in Las Vegas,with big-name shows and the resorts themselves helping to generate vast amounts of profit. By embracing virtual reality, online casinos could bring some of the glitz and glamor of Vegas back into the gambling world by transporting people to the most romanticized of gambling locations without requiring an entire room to be redecorated.
This sort of innovation should be a no-brainer but the potential limitations seem to lie with the software developers. NetEnt, Microgaming, and others have only paid a tiny amount of attention to virtual reality technology, despite the fact that brands like Betway have stated they see virtual reality as part of a live casino experience that has the potential to supersede the current form of online casino.
Despite such backing from industry heavyweights, the problem for virtual reality is that it seems to have found itself in a situation where limited success in other areas of gaming(and, indeed, in other industries) has hindered its widespread usage in the online casino sector.
A brilliant product not given a chance?
Arguably the biggest obstacle so far for virtual reality has been the cost of technology. Indeed,in the gaming world, it hasn’t so much been the quality of the products available that’s a problem, but instead the poor sales that have held back software developers from truly embracing virtual reality games. These negative sales numbers, however, ignore the truly incredible potential that virtual reality can bring,not just to avid gamers, but consumers around the world. After all, VR can offer certain people with disabilities the chance to see the world in ways previously inaccessible to them, and can also help pilots to learn how to fly.
The huge range of benefits helps to explain why Playstation VR (backed by Sony), as well as HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are all heavily invested in creating high-quality VR headsets. Unfortunately,though, only Sony have managed to get sales anywhere near to 1 million units, meaning that the cost of the units has so far not been able to come down to a level where it is deemed affordable enough for most people, especially given that some are priced around the $399 mark.
Waiting for the uptake
These figures would normally be enough to ensure that a product was confined to the MiniDisc or even LaserDisk realm of products that had potential but never truly made it. Despite these negative links and comparisons, though,those involved in the industry of virtual reality seem far more optimistic that the technology will start to get a higher uptake in numbers sooner rather than later, with 50% of those questioned in the UK, for instance, happy to consider owning a VR device.
One of the biggest reasons to explain this is that virtual reality is not about to be superseded in a direct manner (as happened to MiniDisc by the advent of MP3 digital music, with MiniDisc’s last model being shipped in 2011, 19 years after entering the market) and, in contrast to LaserDisk, the prices should be able to be dropped once more companies enter the market.
If the costs can be brought down further, then the only question that will remain is whether people are prepared to wear the headset for long stretches of time. However, unlike 3D TV where asocial experience was turned into one where people sat around wearing slightly odd glasses, virtual reality is, in large part, aimed at creating a virtual social setting, but a more immersive experience within that setting.
If online software developers want to be brave and really invest in a virtual reality future, they may well find the risks they deem to be there, largely aren’t there. There is every chance that,by not investing in a technology that allows people to access the most realistic online casino experience possible, that they will potentially end up being left behind by companies who a reprepared to take this calculated risk.
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