Before October 2021, it is fair to say that many of us had yet to hear of the term ‘metaverse’. Of course, there were those already working on its development and there were those on the outside waiting eagerly for its launch, but, as far as the masses were concerned, this was an unheard-of concept. What changed in 2021 was Facebook. More precisely, it changed its name. While the social media platform retained its name, the company behind it became Meta. Zuckerberg explained the name change was a demonstration of the company’s ambition to be at the forefront of the metaverse.
It is interesting to note that, following Zuckerberg’s announcement, October 2021 saw some 2 million-plus searches for the term metaverse. This shows a clear desire to grasp what it is all about and the potential benefits that it can bring. Here, we’re going to take a brief look at what is meant by the metaverse, before exploring just what this could mean for the iGaming industry.
The metaverse explained
Before considering how iGaming could be impacted by the metaverse, it is worth a brief look at just what the metaverse actually is. There are plenty of people out there with their own explanations of what it involves. Some of these are helpful whereas others are not quite so. A basic way of looking at the metaverse is to see it as a cyberspace. A place where social and professional interactions can take place in a virtual world.
This virtual world will see business meetings being held. It will see people going to the gym, the cinema, it could even see people dating. This virtual world continues to exist even when you decide to step out. The next time you step in, you’ll realise that things have not stood still – time has continued to move forward without you. It is almost like a secondary world that we will inhabit. All well and good, but doesn’t that just sound like current virtual reality? Let’s take a look.
VR in iGaming
VR gambling sites do currently exist but are still limited in growth for the time being. Why? Well, although VR headsets seem to have been around for an age, it is all still a relatively new technology and one that is continually developing. Prior to VR making its presence known in the world of iGaming, casino players faced two choices: play solo against a machine or enter the live casino experience. The live, online, experience recreated a real casino with professional croupiers and the chance to see all the action unfold before your eyes. VR takes this a step further.
Current VR sites allow players to more than merely watch the action on a screen. They can walk into a casino, browse the available games, and then take a seat where they want to play. They can then immerse themselves in 3D quality games and enjoy a life-like casino experience. An online casino in the metaverse is likely to go several steps further.
How online casinos embrace technology
When considering online casinos, it only seems logical that they will be at the forefront of the metaverse when it comes to pass. Online casinos are well known for embracing new technologies and for running with them. You only have to look at the advent of the internet itself. It took no time at all for casinos to be up and running with payment solutions in place and a huge range of games to choose from. They have continued to develop ever since.
The arrival of smartphones is not a too distant memory. Again, these provide ample proof that online casinos take new tech and run with it. It wasn’t long before HTML5 had been explored and used to provide a first-class mobile experience. This meant that players were suddenly able to enjoy all of their favourite games on the go. The way in which casinos react so quickly to emerging technology means that the metaverse will lead to some exciting times in the world of iGaming.
iGaming in the metaverse
Knowing what we now know about the metaverse, the opportunities are endless in terms of iGaming. If we accept that the metaverse is an environment that we can access through the internet and one where we can enter a 3D world, this means that online casinos could take on a whole new life and form. Take a look at VR casinos today and imagine them being an even more immersive experience.
A casino in the metaverse wouldn’t just see you walking through a casino. The casino would be modelled on some of the grandest land-based casinos in the world. Whereas today players can only interact with a croupier, the metaverse will see players being able to talk to each other. Not through a chat function but through actual interaction. This will bring what online casinos are currently lacking – the social element to the play.
What’s next for the metaverse?
The metaverse is not quite here yet! While there is plenty of excited talk about this, the truth is that we are still some way off making all of this a reality. The time, however, will come. Whereas it was Meta (Facebook) that brought the term to the masses, it is important to realise that there are other companies also working on developing the metaverse. It is more than possible that there will be several metaverses from different creators. It is also possible that, at some point, these metaverses may link together.
Games such as Fortnite have already confirmed our desires to be part of a virtual world. During times of lockdown, people attended a virtual island as a Fortnite character to enjoy a virtual concert. This shows that we have already embraced the idea of a virtual world and it is easy to see how this will include iGaming as a whole. The metaverse may be in its infancy, but what is coming will certainly be worth the wait.
“Web geek. Wannabe thinker. Reader. Freelance travel evangelist. Pop culture aficionado. Certified music scholar.”