With the advances in technology and the corresponding growth in interest from major key players, VR is now in a position where the market can finally take off. Juniper released its study late last year into augmented reality across multi platforms and key findings were gambling wagers within VR are set to rise 800 percent in the next five years driven by "high rollers" using the technology. The total number of bets from VR gambling will grow from just over £47.2 million this year, to just under £423 million by 2021.
Online gambling is one industry that is becoming quite vocal within the VR conversation. In the UK alone, online gambling generates around £3bn annually, and this figure is only expected to climb as online casinos and mobile gambling apps continue to become more sophisticated and widely used. Mobile gambling itself presents a significant opportunity for the industry to engage with new players, growing by 10% annually and predicted in recent forecasts to account for 40% of all online gambling in the next three years.
I therefore see no reason why online and mobile gamblers couldn’t find themselves using VR headsets to sit across from each other at a table in a virtual casino, playing a game of poker or blackjack with a stack of virtual chips, when in actuality, they are connecting remotely from the comfort of their own homes.
One of the benefits for the gambling industry has been the customer experience and marketing opportunities within the VR portal. This offers a great opportunity for one to one marketing within the virtual casinos. However, user uptake has been hindered by cost of VR devices and a lack of understanding, as costs drop and understanding increases the extent of user adoption will only grow.
Whilst online casinos can often appear less engaging to a younger player who is used to full on gaming on a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, the recent success of wearable technology, such as the Apple Watch and Fitbit, clearly demonstrates that millennials connect more enthusiastically with the gamification of tasks that they usually find less engaging, such as the use of targets to make exercise more rewarding.
By using VR technology to transport players and their friends to exciting locations for their online gambling experience, such as a famous casino in Las Vegas, or a smoky basement room in 1920’s New York, mobile and online casinos may stand a better chance of drawing in younger audiences if they use VR to gamify the casino experience.
VR has made ground breaking progress and with the growing availability of VR devices to consumers, I think it is very possible that this kind of online gambling experience will be commonplace in the not too distant future. With new VR offerings already retailing today at the incredibly affordable price of around £15, this technology has well and truly landed, and the gambling industry has seen an opportunity to be firmly seated on the bandwagon.
In short, here at Pocket App, we are firm believers that virtual reality is here to stay. The ball has already started to roll and we expect 2017 to see a flood of increasingly sophisticated offerings making an indelible mark on online casino gambling. As of last year, many casinos had already taken steps to onboard VR aspects to their offering in an attempt to carve out their own niche in the VR market. You already have Microgaming making a VR roulette table and VR Casino which has a fully-rendered virtual casino up and working, so as VR becomes more popular this will become even more commonplace.
Now, all that remains is for you to put on your headset and pick out your sharpest virtual suit, the VR casinos are ready to deal you in?
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