If the idea of virtual reality gambling sounds a little bizarre to you right now, just give it a few more years!
Despite being considered a relatively new concept, VR has actually been around in one form or another for decades. It’s just that it’s only as of relatively recently that the technology has stepped up into high gear. All the way back in the eighties, tech gurus and analysts across the board were already fully convinced that virtual reality would play an important role in the future of a lot of industries. It was simply a case of sufficient time needed for the required technology to become both available and affordable.
These days, all you need is a modest home computer or mobile device paired with an affordable headset to enjoy the full VR experience. And while we are still only seeing the beginning of what’s to come, today’s VR technology is already the science-fiction of decades gone by.
Virtual reality is such an exciting concept because it has uniquely wide-reaching appeal and implications for countless industries. When you think about it, there is almost no example of home entertainment that could not be vastly enhanced with VR technology. The full movie theatre experience without leaving home, the ability to explore every town and city on Earth from your couch, immersive video gaming that puts you right at the heart of the action – all the kinds of things that are already being experimented with.
Unsurprisingly, the gambling industry is also taking virtual reality extremely seriously.
A report published a couple of months ago suggested that by 2022, the number of online wagers placed by VR device users will increase by more than 800%. Even now, the VR gambling industry on a global basis has a value in excess of $60 million, which is expected to exceed the $500 million mark by the end of the current decade. Relatively small figures when compared to those of the gambling industry in general, but an illustration of the kind of growth to be expected over the coming years.
Much of the change has been the result of major brands like Sony, HTC and Facebook both showing interest and investing heavily in VR technology. To such an extent that it is now possible to enjoy the most extraordinary VR experience using nothing more than a smartphone and a headset.
Over in the gambling arena in particular, it is currently only those who take their online gaming very seriously who have begun exploring VR. Nevertheless, it is widely expected that in the years and decades to come, virtual reality gambling will take over as something of a new standard.
As things stand right now, the VR gambling experience is limited to a few demo packages and experiences, which for the most part present popular table games in an enhanced and immersive 3D capacity. The experience can be eye opening to say the least, though the visuals and general dynamic of the whole thing are not particularly mind blowing. Nevertheless, experts believe that the combination of virtual reality and live-dealer casino gaming will make it possible to enjoy the full-scale casino experience, without ever having to leave home.
What’s more, the same is also expected in the sports betting arena. Rather than simply watching a horse race or waiting for the results to appear on screen, it will be possible to don a VR headset and watch the action from absolutely anywhere at the track. For that matter, it will eventually be possible to watch absolutely any sport or event whatsoever, as if you were there in the crowd. For decades now, those who provide online gambling and sports betting experiences have been working frantically to deliver the most realistic and immersive experience possible for their customers. The fact that virtual reality effectively places you right there at the heart of the action makes it the most capable technology for taking things to the next level.
The appeal of virtual reality is abundantly clear for anyone who has experienced VR at its best. It’s one thing to stare at a screen, but it’s something else entirely to be provided with a 360-degree, fully interactive experience where your movements and gestures take the place of mouse clicks and key presses. Even with the most realistic online casino experience in the world, you still never quite feel as if you are really there.
What’s more, virtual reality technology will eventually allow for an entirely new social dynamic for the online gambler. Instead of simply sitting there and being served by a private dealer or robot, you’ll instead be able to join tables with other VR players and converse and interact as if they were sitting right next to you. Once again, an extraordinary step forward in casino gaming that could transform the industry quite radically.
Time Will Tell…
That said, the one thing the vast majority of experts do not seem to be able to agree on is exactly when all of the above is likely to become a reality. Virtual reality technology may have come a long way, but this doesn’t mean that the public in general is ready for it. In addition, there’s a big difference between building the technology and rolling it out in such a manner as to transform an industry as a whole from the ground up.
It’s the classic case of taking what we have now and making relatively broad projections as to what’s likely to come in the future. After all, rewind to the 1960s and most people were convinced that by the year 2000, we would all be flying to work in our own private aircraft. Suffice to say, major technological shifts do not tend to happen quite as quickly as expected.
In any case, the virtual reality revolution is one that is 100% guaranteed to take over sooner or later. In the meantime, we’ll be keeping our eyes and ears well and truly fixed to the ground for updates as they occur.