Despite the fact that the virtual reality (VR) sector has yet to fulfil the massive expectations set for it by technology enthusiasts everywhere, experts are now predicting an eightfold growth in VR gambling revenues by 2021 to a very respectable £423 million.
These findings were released in a recent report by Juniper, which foretasted gambling trends in the twelve biggest industry markets for the next five year.
Casino gambling is expected to benefit the most from an immersive VR experience, as it will help players enjoy a much more realistic experience than they can currently enjoy on either desktop or mobile online gambling. Wagers placed via VR devices are expected to grow to 40% of the total.
The biggest factor holding back VR growth at present is the cost of VR headsets, but with new hardware designs coming onto the market regularly this will not prove a longterm problem. Thanks to Google Cardboard in particular, some VR industry leaders predict there will be 500 million VR headsets worldwide by the end of Q4 2016.
Thanks to this explosive growth of headsets that incorporate smartphones, Juniper’s Lauren Foye expects VR gambling early adopters to be mostly smartphone VR users, with a few users seeking higher fidelity using top-end PCs.
She explained in her report, “These will be coupled with a niche clientele, often high-rollers, thereby resulting in comparatively large average wager amongst these early adopters.”
The test of these predictions will come when top online casino game makers begin to design apps that will work in smartphone VR headsets. VR designs can be a pleasant novelty but often lack ways to interact meaningfully with the virtual environment. The key will be making gameplay significantly enjoyable to encourage regular players to switch from flat screens. VR hardware, especially at the lower end of the market, can also produce disorientation and nausea, among users and this will certainly have an impact on average session time.
But VR is almost certain to improve. The global market across all types of VR is expected to top £26 billion in this same five year period. With the gambling industry’s history of forward thinking and innovation, the VR casino experience will almost certainly move mainstream in the near future.