It has been four years now since virtual reality was supposedly set to take over the world and transform gaming as we know it, but up to now, the revolutionary platform has failed to make waves in the mainstream. Online casinos are renowned for jumping on new technology and using it to enhance the gambling experience, so it is reasonable to anticipate that VR will permeate the gambling industry at some point. The question is, when will this happen? When can gamers expect VR to become ubiquitous at online casinos?
News on VR Developments Has Gone Cold
In the early days of VR when devices like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive were set to hit the market, developers in the online casino industry seemed to be scrambling to create content for what they thought would be a ground-breaking technological shift. Microgaming quickly came up with VR Roulette, while NetEnt began working on VR slots that put players face to face with giant reels within a fantasy world. These prototypes were met with critical acclaim and even won awards, but they are yet to be included in the catalogues of online casinos.
Now it seems that these major developers have switched their focus for the time being, with news on VR developments going cold. The Swedish developer NetEnt admitted that it was putting a lot of its resources into improving its live casino offerings, mainly because this form of gaming has emerged as one of the most popular forms of play in recent years. Indeed, a lot of the best online casinos in 2020 now advertise their live casino offerings as a major draw to pull in players. The level of competition in the industry means that casinos are always trying to stand out either in different ways such as through their offerings, by providing a variety of payment methods to be as convenient as possible, or by using sign-up offers such as free spins and welcome bonuses among other things.
VR Projections Suggest a Spike in 2023
After incorrectly predicting that VR would be an instant hit when the first devices hit the market, analysts had to recalibrate their projections. The new consensus is that there will be a spike in VR revenue in 2023, with the industry generating more than $4.8 billion. These projections take into account the evolution of hardware as new generations are released, along with the increased investment in software companies.
That year could be the turning point that allows VR to begin to go mainstream. The path of smartphones can give an insight as to how VR headsets could become essential household items. As new devices are released, the older models will drop in price. This allows a greater number of end users to get hold of the technology. The fact that the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X are expected to have a big focus on VR could help the technology reach more people as well.
Is 2030 a Conservative Estimate?
As soon as smartphones became widely owned across the world, online casino developers began to create content for the smaller, portable screen. In 2020, nearly every online casino has a mobile option, and all of the top games have been optimised for the handheld devices. However, it has taken a long time to get to this stage of ubiquity. In fact, the switch to online casinos offering mobile options was a steady process that happened over the last ten years.
For this reason, it might be wise to assume that VR breaking out into online casinos and becoming a must-have may take a similar amount of time. 2030 may seem like a conservative estimate for VR games to become online casino essentials, but realistically it could take this long for the gear’s usage to become that widespread.
It may take a longer time that previously expected for VR to be a mainstay of online casinos. The devices need to be accessible to a greater number of end users before developers put all their chips in the VR basket. At present, it still seems as though slots and live casino are the primary areas of focus for developers.