Virtual reality in online casinos
One of the brightest trends in the gambling market is the use of VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) technologies. Thanks to them, an incredible level of immersion in the game, as well as getting new emotions and impressions is achieved.
Many companies are currently developing VR casinos, slots, roulettes, poker, blackjack, and other gambling activities. But mass demand for such services is not observed yet. Nevertheless, many people are sure that this is the future and the nearest future.
Advantages of using VR in online casinos
Virtual reality provides the highest level of immersion. Modern technologies allow not only to make high-quality 3D-graphics but also to place in the virtual environment of living people. It can be both dealers and other players. As a result, for example, a poker game can be indistinguishable from the real one.
Special controllers allow you to interact with objects in virtual space. The player can throw chips, press buttons on slot machines, express emotions with gestures.
Difficulties with the introduction of VR in gambling
The VR market has one major problem. This is the availability of virtual reality headsets. Firstly, they are very expensive for the mass consumer. Price tags for headsets with high-quality graphics will start with a mark of $1000. Secondly, the market is still in the development stage. New models of VR glasses appear regularly, some companies try to dictate standards, others suddenly curtail their activities.
When developing a mobile casino application it is enough to make a version for iOS and Android. This will cover the needs of 99% of potential users. Headsets are more complicated. You will need a separate version for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Microsoft HoloLens. And these are the most popular headsets. And there are dozens of other platforms from HP, LG, Samsung and so on. The cost of development in such conditions increases by several times.
In addition to the cost of the headset to its user needs to buy a VR-compatible computer. In practice, this means the presence of a fairly powerful modern video card. This is another limitation that significantly increases the entrance threshold.
For mass distribution of VR-technologies it is necessary to have a headset, which will be available:
- to have a price at the level of a budget smartphone;
- completely wireless;
- Have good graphics and sound;
- work for several hours without recharging.
All these requirements, except for the price, already meets all these requirements of the headset Oculus Quest. It remains to be seen how much it costs.
Market volume forecasts
As early as 2016, the analytical agency Juniper Research predicted the rapid growth of virtual technologies. According to their estimates, by 2021, the VR/AR market should have reached $500 million.
According to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s estimates, as of 2018, the total gambling market amounted to 449 billion dollars. By 2022, it plans to grow to 565 billion dollars (an annual increase of 6%). Against this background, even half a billion does not seem to be a significant amount. But the same experts assure that VR will grow much faster than other segments – about 15% annually. In some regions, such as the U.S., annual growth will be 40-55%.
According to the estimates of the techno Plus agency, by 2022 the volume of the virtual entertainment market in the field of gambling will grow up to 360 million dollars. The current estimate, as of 2019, is $100 million.
As an example of a successful VR, the casino has often cited the company SlotsMillion. Back in 2015, it launched online casinos SlotsMillion VR. Using Oculus Rift glasses, the player can wander through the colorful room with slot machines, sit down for anyone and play. A total of about 40 slots are available.
According to the company’s managers, the first time after the launch they faced several problems. First of all, there are not many gambling fans in the world who have a VR headset at home. Secondly, regulators are trying to tighten laws regarding virtual casinos. SlotsMillion used the license of Malta. The country is known for its loyal attitude to gambling. But in this case, the regulator required compliance with several requirements. For example, the games must be present hours. This is done to ensure that the player did not lose the sense of time. There were also restrictions on tournaments between players.
The first problem in SlotsMillion was solved simply: just adapted the VR-version for use on computers and mobile devices. The effect of immersion is not the same, but people can try out the features of VR-casino even before buying a headset. The second one is more complicated – most of the regulators haven’t figured out all the issues related to online gambling. The regulation of the VR casino market is still ahead.
VR casino providers
Many of the popular online casino solution providers have already begun to master virtual technologies. Among them are such companies as:
The company develops software for online casinos, which is supported by VR-gadgets. Also, the company can implement support for VR for games that initially do not use this technology.
The company offers virtual roulette VR Roulette. It works with Oculus Rift headsets and Leaps Motion controllers. By using these controllers, the player gets a greater degree of immersion.
This provider has several casino slots with VR support in its assortment. These are Gonzo’s Quest, Jack’s World VR, Starburst and Scarface games.
Most of the VR adaptations of slots are quite simple. They consist of changing the geometry of the slot and adding various three-dimensional effects. By choosing a slot machine, the user gets a picture “full screen”. During the game, you can not turn your eyes left or right and see the neighboring machines and players behind them.
When is it worth launching your VR casino?
From a business point of view, the launch of VR casinos is not much different from the launch of the site or mobile application. Games, in any case, will be more profitable to take from proven providers. Marketing will always be the most expensive part. The main thing is the presence of demand. With this, there are still some problems.
The main indicator indicating the growth of the VR-industry will be the appearance of an affordable and at the same time productive headset. From a large company, which will be able to capture a significant volume of the market. Not so long ago Google refused to develop its VR-platform. Now all hope on Facebook.