When will VR integration become a differentiating factor for online casinos?

  (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

VR is a technology that we have been trying to perfect for decades now. In the ’90s, there was the promise of VR going mainstream, but unfortunately, the technology was not there, and VR once more faded away. It was not until Facebook bought Oculus that things took a turn, and there became a renewed and re-energised interest in the technology. 

Since then, VR has taken steps to become more mainstream. Hundreds of games have been launched, and you can now watch movies in VR, chat, attend a concert or explore a house before buying it. Therefore, it is not unreasonable for the gambling sector to start making inroads into VR.

VR has the potential to kick-start another revolution in the iGaming sector by taking slots and table games to the next level, especially considering the new technologies that are on the horizon.

Welcome Bonuses Still Effective In Attracting New Players

As great as the promise of new technology and immersive casino games are, there is still only one way to attract new players to a casino platform. Many UK online slots site offer free spins, no deposit bonuses, or matched bonus funds for new players to play with. Although not the only deciding factor for players when they join a new casino, bonuses tend to be the best weapon that casinos have in their arsenal.

Many players will join a new site just to claim the bonus and then move on to the next bonus on another site. It is during this time that casinos have the chance to attract new players and hopefully forge a lasting relationship. Casinos often offer bonuses and promotions to keep players engaged, of which the free spins bonus is the most common. 

Another often used tool is the matched deposit bonus. With this, the casino offers players bonus funds to play with should the player deposit money in their account. It is not uncommon to receive a 200% bonus fund. However, these bonus funds are often subject to wagering requirements that must first be met, such as a playthrough of 20x.

The important factor in offering players these bonuses is that prospective players get invested in the site and come back to enjoy these time and again.

Keeping players after receiving their welcome bonus greatly depends on them having a positive experience while interacting with the site. This leads us to the VR discussion.

Developers Already Dabbling With VR

When the last VR boom started around 2016, many of the current slot games developers saw the potential for the adoption of VR into the gambling arena. Microgaming and NetEnt are two of the major slots developers that jumped in and took the lead. Microgaming first started developing their roulette game, which they unveiled in 2016. To play this roulette game, players would need a head-mounted device and controllers to project a virtual world into their headsets. Players could then interact with this casino world in a way that they could never before, leading them through to the roulette game.

NetEnt, on the other end, developed Gonzo’s Quest. Released in 2017, this was also VR-friendly, making history as the first VR slot game. Gonzo’s Quest bypassed the need for a dedicated app by using the Web VR plug-in.

Currently, there are already a few VR casinos available to those who would like to experience this technology. First, you will need the equipment to do so, including a headset at the minimum for newer models or a headset and PC for some older or more powerful models.

Although there are few VR casinos available yet, there are some that have popped up. VR casinos now let you purchase items to customise your avatar, and you can interact with fellow players and dealers. These casinos have truly become the next level in gambling, which will, in all likelihood, be the norm in the next couple of years as they deliver a superior level of immersion.

Will VR Become Mainstream By 2025

The gambling industry has certainly grown a lot in recent years and is expected to grow to $127,451.4 million in 2025. But for VR to be adopted as a mainstream gambling method, the VR market will also have to grow. VR adoption is certainly not as widespread as it could be due to a few factors standing or used to stand in the way of a full-scale adoption. 

VR equipment used to be very expensive. Until recently, a very powerful PC was required to make the best of the VR equipment. However, lately, headsets have been rolling out that do away with the need for a PC that powers the headset. Standalone headsets now provide a cost-effective alternative, making them no more expensive than a gaming console.

Another aspect that will need improvement is the rollout of the software side. Companies need to invest time and money in building the software to power these VR casinos. While a few companies have started the process, many more will need to come on board. 

One bit of technology that might propel VR gambling forward is the Metaverse. In the Metaverse, which is currently in development, people will be able to “live” their lives. This technology will bring together many other forms of technology, such as VR and AR, to create a truly immersive world where people go about many of their daily tasks. Gambling stands to benefit hugely from this, as it will make the act of gambling simpler and easier for many people.

Online VR gambling could truly become mainstream by 2025, but it would need to clear a few hurdles first for that to happen.

This article was written in cooperation with Mr Charlie Staines