Virtual reality (VR) became "the" thing to talk about in 2016 and, as we move through 2017, it doesn't look as though the industry is slowing down.
Virtual reality (VR) became “the” thing to talk about in 2016 and, as we move through 2017, it doesn’t look as though the industry is slowing down. According to the latest research by Greenlight Insights, virtual reality as a whole will be worth $74.8 billion by 2021.
If the figures develop in this way, it will not only mark a huge jump from the industry’s current value of $7.1 billion, but it will likely mean the permeation of VR into a variety of new mediums. In fact, this is something Greenlight’s analysis also predicts. Once more people own VR headsets, content will gradually increase and start to form the bulk of the industry’s revenue.
Naturally, as the scope of VR content grows, so will the number of industries jumping on the bandwagon. As outlined by Greenlight, enterprise-related content, i.e. VR material developed by education businesses and construction companies, will account for 24.2% of the market by 2021. However, as varied as the industry is set to become, gaming will likely remain the biggest source of consumer content and, therefore, industry revenue.
Gaming Will Continue to Innovate Alongside VR
Statista projects that VR gaming will hit $22.9 billion by 2020. If this is the case, then gaming will follow a similar pattern to the market at large i.e. the bigger the market becomes, the more areas the technology will infiltrate. Put simply, in the next few years we’re going to see more than just VR video games. In reality, we’re already starting to see this theory manifest itself in reality thanks to the iGaming community.
Never one to shy away from new innovations, online casinos and their software suppliers have already started to explore the potential of VR gaming. In fact, many would argue that online casinos were offering a VR gaming before the recent boom. One of the best examples of this early move towards a more “realistic” online gaming experience can be seen when you play 32Red roulette games and its “live dealer” counterpart.
In the early noughties, when online casino gaming was just starting to evolve, virtual games powered by random number generators were the only games in town. Although they offer plenty of advantages in terms of speed and efficiency, these games lack a certain authenticity. Fast forward to 2010 and the first live dealer games started to emerge. Combining RFID chips and webcams with some specially coded software, developers such as Microgaming were able to connect real dealers with online players.
iGaming Innovated in Order to Increase Interaction
Today, when you play at 32Red, the popularity of live roulette is obvious. Aside from a traditional version of the game where you can stake $1 or more just as you would in a real casino, there are now some unique variants available. As well as speed roulette, players can take a turn on Double Ball Roulette, which basically gives them double the amount of ways they can win. What we’re essentially seeing with the continued evolution of live dealer roulette is that players are demanding more options and, more importantly, more realism.
Having a greater connection with the game and the outcome (i.e. you’re not relying on an invisible piece of software to determine the result), makes things more entertaining, which is what players want. In line with this, software developers in the casino industry are now exploring VR technology and the ways it can make games even more interactive and “realistic”.
Microgaming first previewed its version of VR Roulette back at the ICE Totally Gaming expo back in 2016. Taking a simple version of roulette such as Monster Casino’s European roulette with its single zero set-up, Microgaming added Oculus Rift and Leap Motion 3D controllers to the mix. The end result was an interactive world where players could walk around the table, riffle casino chips and generally feel as though they were inside a real casino.
New Technology Means New Ideas Across the Gaming Industry
Beyond this, NetEnt has taken the idea a step further and applied VR technology to slot games. Today, if you login to NetEnt-backed casinos such as Slot Boss, you’ll find Gonzo’s Quest atop of the list of popular spinners. In the next few years, however, it will likely be replaced by Gonzo’s Quest VR. Previewed in February 2017, the new concept in slot gaming sees people assume a first-person view of the action. On top of this, players can take in the scenery with 360-degree views and set the game in motion by reaching out and touching the bet button.
Although the technology will take some time to filter into the mainstream, it’s a clear sign of where the industry is headed. Indeed, when you consider iGaming has been pushing for increased realism for the best part of a decade, it’s easy to see why it’s eager to join the VR revolution. With the market set to grow and content options set to increase, don’t be surprised when you see online casinos become almost exclusively VR affairs in the coming years.