A metaverse refers to a highly immersive digital world focused on collective social interaction. The concept of a metaverse traces back to Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash. Gamers are familiar with this concept through popular titles like Minecraft and Roblox and moviegoers have been introduced to it in recent films Free Guy and Ready Player One. In current pop culture, when the general populace discusses the metaverse, they are most likely referring to the virtual reality world proposed by Mark Zuckerberg and his company, Meta (new Facebook).
Zuckerberg believes that there will be more than one billion people using the metaverse for work and play by 2030, which is a reasonable estimate if revenue projections for the technology are to be believed. With online casinos having always adapted alongside technology, the metaverse as a whole (not just Zuckerberg’s arena) is sure to have a huge impact on the industry.
The gameplay of online casino games has traditionally evolved with technology, and there are some exciting possibilities if Virtual Reality (VR) becomes mainstream. Companies like Microgaming and NetEnt have already provided tantalizing glimpses of what those advancements could look like.
Microgaming is credited with bringing VR technology into the gambling space with its innovative display at the 2015 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Attendees were introduced to a virtual roulette table and a robot croupier in a digital outer space setting. The game was well-received, winning several industry awards over the next two years. VR tables like this could easily appear throughout the metaverse.
There could also be immersive VR slots in which players face up against giant reels in an endless selection of fantastical worlds/scenarios. NetEnt debuted this concept at the 2016 ICE Totally Gaming Conference with Jack’s World VR, quickly followed by Gonzo’s Quest, Starburst and Scarface.
Go Inside the Game
It’s likely that in the early days of the shift to the metaverse, online casinos will offer the option to play VR games alongside more traditional offerings. In that situation, players would have access to standalone titles like Jack’s World VR through standard online gambling platforms.
Eventually, though, this could lead to fully functioning VR casinos. Sprawling virtual casinos could encompass everything from slots to tables and even offer entertainment options, just like real-life casinos.
If fully functioning VR casinos become reality, it will inevitably lead to a rise in social gaming within these cybernetic settings. Land-based casinos have traditionally been places in which players can converse and socialize, but this aspect of the gambling house hasn’t been fully replicated online. One of the biggest upsides to VR Casinos is that players would have opportunities to engage with people from all over the world. Avatars could easily cross countries and even continents, in fully immersive and realistically rendered digital spaces.
Crypto: Currency of the Future?
The online casino industry has a range of payment methods available to players. Current popular methods include credit and debit cards, eChecks, gift cards, bank wire transfers and increasingly, cryptocurrencies.
Some analysts believe that the metaverse could be a prime motivator for cryptocurrencies (i.e., Bitcoin and Ethereum) to come to the fore. If over one billion people are to exist in this new virtual world, it doesn’t make sense for them to be paying for things with their own country’s fiat currencies. Therefore, a digital payment method that has no global boundaries becomes the desired solution.
There has already been an increase in the number of cryptocurrency gambling sites over recent years, and this indicates that many people are expecting this future scenario. The metaverse could take it one step further and make crypto a ubiquitous payment method for both gaming and non-gaming sites alike.
It’s exciting to see these major advancements in online gambling. Players shouldn’t be worried about the metaverse disrupting the current paradigm, as the transition to all-enveloping digital play will be gradual. It’s likely that there will still be the option to play casino games in their current form, along with the more futuristic options of the metaverse for a long time to come.