The progress in development of high-fidelity virtual experiences in the so-called Metaverse will have a broad impact on society, but how will it affect online casinos? It is an interesting question that businesses, technologists and public entities concerned with gambling will have to begin seriously thinking about. Following mainstream pivots by the likes of Meta (Facebook), there is a clear and concerted effort being launched by the tech community to synthesize a new type of internet. Colloquially referred to as Web3, it promises a hyper-immersive new type of digital reality; based on digital property rights, decentralization, and greater autonomy for users.
The Metaverse concept is far from something new, any modern internet user will be familiar with the paradigm shift currently undertaken. Originally conceptualized in Snow Crash, a novel by Neal Stephenson, the Metaverse refers to an immersive digital landscape where people can interact, work, play, and generally live the entire scope of the human experience as they would in the physical medium. The concept of the Metaverse is a contentious topic that shot to popularity with the rise of decentralized computing systems powered on Ethereum, but whether or not this is a key breakthrough for humanity – or just another grift remains to be seen.
Thinking more towards how casinos can leverage the potential of the Metaverse, it’s not difficult to immediately recognise the problems it can solve. Geographic restrictions on gambling have prevented many individuals from being able to place bets on the games and sports they love. Players are often confronted with restrictions when trying to deposit money or withdraw winnings, either because the transaction is blocked, or because the receipt of funds is a long and drawn out process.
This issue we can easily expect will be solved with breakthroughs in the use of cryptocurrencies. In the Metaverse where casino concepts are already being trailed, the primary payment medium will be through native cryptocurrencies. This completely builds into the narrative and promise of crypto, and by building a stronger suite of applications that drives more users to the platform, the case for deeper integrations is only strengthened.
Metaverse Promises New Way to Experience Gambling
Entering the Metaverse requires a new way to interact with the people and objects around you. For this a familiar concept of avatars has been integrated, and will heavily influence the experience that most of us have when interacting with this new type of reality. Avatars, or virtual personas, can be similar in looks to the person controlling them. But in other implementations of the Metaverse these avatars take on a completely new aesthetic. The presentation of yourself in this new digital environment is ultimately something that can be completely custom, big or small, tall or short, your avatar is built on whatever aesthetic you choose it to be.
Heading to the betting shop, online bookmaker or sports match in person will be an unfamiliar concept as this technology becomes more immersive. With the realistic nature of the metaverse potentially making these real-life visits to a stadium obsolete, it remains a tantalizing prospect as to whether fans will gather in digital spaces, that are experienced in such high-fidelity that it makes the real-thing an even less pleasurable experience. This back-to-front reality may seem unrealistic an far-fetched, but it is exactly the vision that web3 advocates are maximising for.
Going to a casino in the metaverse is something that has already been made possible by the development of augmented reality and Sandbox like environments. With the production of metaverse casinos, gamblers will have the chance to put on an AR headset, arm their wallet with enough cash to get through a casual gaming session, and begin playing their favourite custom gambling games whilst feeling like they are actually in the venue itself. Much similar to how online gamers go into an immersive multiplayer experience, metaverse casinos will be packed full of functionalities that make the experience all the more rewarding for users.
As we get closer to this new form of internet reality, the question remains over whether the mainstream adoption that the success of these projects hinges on will actually materialise. We have already seen an incredibly hyped cycle of NFT popularity, with blue chip projects defying all past notions of digital property value, setting up a new asset class that not only individuals, but institutional investors have seen the value to invest. The metaverse builds on this narrative, and will likely be successful when the layers of abstraction are good enough to remove all complexity and inefficiencies that currently exist.
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