At the moment, the online gambling industry has never had it so good. Driven largely by smartphones and easy internet access, the industry is estimated to hit $60bn in global revenues by the turn of the decade – around double the 2010 figure. With this kind of figures at hand, it would be easy for the casino bosses to lay back and relax, after all, if it isn’t broken why it fix?
While that sentiment may work in some industries, it most certainly doesn’t roll in the world of online casinos. Gambling has historically always been one of the quickest industries to take up and develop the potential of new technologies. Now it has its eyes firmly set upon the potential of Virtual Reality.
It’s easy to be cynical about VR; after all, the word ‘potential’ alone has become practically synonymous with the technology. It’s never really taken off in the past, seen largely as a novelty that people try for the experience before heading back to familiar and functional formats. Cynics might also add that why ought a person spend $1000 on the hardware, the same again on a PC powerful enough to run it, and then find they’ve not many games to play? Surely it would be easier to load up the 7Sultans smartphone app and enjoy a few fun spins without the hassle or expense?
All of these criticisms are valid points. Yet for the sake of argument, let’s take a look at the key reasons why the gambling industry remains so confident that VR will be truly the next big thing this time.
The Industry Is Structured For VR To Succeed
When we refer to the ‘gambling industry’ we automatically assume the huge international casinos with labs full of scientists developing virtual roulette. It doesn’t quite work that way. While the casinos are keeping a close eye, it’s the private development companies spearheading the drive towards making VR casino gaming work.
This is especially the case with young, small scale startups who realize they haven’t a chance against the bigger players with standard games. Still, they may well have a golden opportunity with VR – if they can make it work, and above anything else gain a solid, high spending playing base. If they manage to achieve this, then in all likelihood the established companies will buy them out or poach the expertise. It’s brutal, but there it is.
What this means in the grander scheme of things is that VR will be successful as a format for enjoying online casino gaming that will be built by smaller scale. After all, why should a casino invest millions developing games that it turns out there’s no market for? So if VR fails to win over the customers again, it’s no loss for the casinos (bad news for the developers though). If it succeeds – opens up the chequebook.
Everyone Predicted Smartphone Casinos To Fail
Apps are now the most popular way for people to enjoy online casino games, but remember when they first came out a decade ago? They were unplayable. Compare that to what we have today – pretty much portable Vegas slots. History is packed with examples of expensive tech suddenly becoming mainstream, and while people often cite the fact that phones are every day essential – can the same be said for games consoles?
Assuming VR drops in price to around the same level as a first release next-generation console – or better still starts becoming bundled in with phone/entertainment packages – then online casinos will suddenly have a virtual market for their product. If people start using the tech, you can be sure gambling will be ready and waiting.
The Games Will Only Get Better
VR casinos are already around in their most early stages, and frankly, there’s a long way to go until the interactive Vegas that casino bosses are dreaming of. But there’s no reason why that cannot happen in the relatively near future. Games take time and effort to develop, especially with new VR tech, but when/if the market suddenly appears to expect a huge influx of finance and talent into the virtual reality casino gaming industry. Progress will be fast.