Are VR Casinos for Real or Just a Fad
Virtual reality has been one of the most-talked about technologies in recent years.
20:34 10 June 2020
While nobody has gone truly mad about it, there have been many inroads driven into the segment, and specifically online gambling. Casinos, as such, have toyed with the idea of introducing virtual reality as the future of slots. Yet, nobody has done so just yet. This begs the question, are VR casinos just a buzzword or is there a real demand and supply for them?
Recently, we have seen several developers create VR games, even if to just tease partners and gauge the response. NetEnt pioneered Jack and the Beanstalk VR a few years back. Betsoft Gaming has been developing some pretty realistic 3D games in the meantime, and while no-one has hosted a fully-fledged casino, virtual reality is coming to casinos.
The First Step in Creating Virtual Reality Casinos
Before any mass adoption can occur, there will be a lot of trial and errors. For starters, casinos do need more products they can use in one VR casino. Jack and the Beanstalk is a good start, of course. And, clearly, NetEnt has the know-how to take its games and online slots onto the next level which means that should a casino request a fully-working VR portfolio, it should have some fairly soon.
However, what specific challenges lie ahead of the adoption of VR to casinos to make it worth everyone’s time? Well, there are at least several main points that we ought to pay attention to. Let’s take it from the top.
Legal and Regulatory Permission Matters
Now, while it may seem as easy as just ordering the games from a developer, there are many things to consider before introducing an online slot. For starters, a regulator should assess the game and decide whether it breaks any responsible gambling norms. Is it too immersive or addictive by nature?
Does it incentivize players to gamble too much without realizing it? All of these are viable concerns that regulators will want to bring up and developers may not yet know how to address when it comes to showing proof that the “addictive” factor in their products would be kept to a minimum.
Another thing that makes perfect sense before considering any wider-adoption is whether users would be interested, and indeed able to afford a VR set. While the price for such sets has fallen quite a bit, and today you can buy a decent one for $100, it’s still a matter of turning a loyal fanbase into consumers who are committed enough to buy new equipment to enjoy a different product.
This is why most companies are still holding out on any wider adoption of VR sets just yet and are waiting for the hype, and normality of using VR, to build well into the mainstream fabric. Once it does, casinos will definitely step into the interesting segment of virtual reality, which is quite promising by the look of it.
Expanding VR to Different Segments
There have been many reasons to see VR expand to many different activities. As it turns out, training in a VR simulator can be quite helpful, and so, visiting a VR casino might be just as satisfactory and give players that stay-at-home but still get all the fun feeling that many have been looking for, and specifically those who prefer to stick with online casinos instead of driving somewhere to play.
There have been already some successful efforts in introducing VR to a wider audience. For example, PokerStars has been keen on seeing what it can do with its own poker rooms, and the company debuted a VR solution that was widely embraced. Even though it’s not the norm to play poker online, VR can be quite fun.
VR is also now available in sports where you can get a digital tour of venues, adding to the realism of the whole thing, and making for a surreal experience while you are at it. Admittedly, online casinos haven’t been as keen to adopt the technology just yet, but it’s only a matter of time until that changes.
So, How Long Before Online Casinos Adopt VR After All?
This is an interesting question. Nobody can really tell, but given the trend of consumer adoption of VR today, it shouldn’t be long. According to Statista there should be around 30 million VR units sold by 2023, which means that there is definitely a demand. Now, casinos have a new challenge to address as well – appealing to the right demographics. They may want to target younger players who are interested in games more so than gambling. This is definitely possible given how the gaming portfolios have been changing.