The lines between virtual reality and what we might refer to as ‘real life’ have become increasingly blurred as the internet has encroached further into our lives in recent years. Now it is worth debating whether meeting friends for coffee is any more or less of a real social engagement than a lively online conversation using WhatsApp. Is falling in love on Facebook a more or less authentic experience than falling in love with someone you meet in college classes? The question is just how far will our love affair with the online world go, and to what lengths will our relationship to our physical environment be affected by future technologies?
The internet has become an integral part in the lives of many when it comes to socializing and how they enjoy their free time. People are spending hours every day on social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. Apart from sharing photos and watching videos, people now spend more time online when it comes to leisure activities. This means that rather than going out to play sports, people prefer to play games online, whether that is in the form of interactive video games or casino style games. One factor which could have a major impact on these recreational activities is the rise of virtual reality technology, which could have major implications on how we spend our time.
Virtual reality technology has not yet crossed into the mainstream, but it is certainly knocking on the door. Brands like Sony, HTC and Google are putting some serious work into developing both mobile and tethered VR headsets. While the tethered versions offer a more immersive experience, the mobile versions which connect wirelessly to your mobile device (or act independently) are more popular at the moment. The price of the more advanced devices still remains an off-putting factor for many, as the enhanced gaming features on offer from VR tech are not tempting enough for a lot of people to part with large sums of cash.
For now, virtual reality is primarily being associated with video game play and used with Playstation consoles or PCs. However, some real money gaming sites are focused on making VR a part of this market to the extent that we could even start enjoying casino experiences from home as a substitute for a visit to a physical casino. Why bother leaving home to go to the casino with all the associated expenses like baby-sitting, petrol, parking and dining out when you could have an authentic-feeling virtual experience from home. Some online casinos like SlotsMillions are already heavily invested in virtual reality technology and marketing this as a selling point. That site already has a 3D Virtual Reality lounge where players can enjoy a variety of real money games using their headsets to provide a fully immersive slots gaming experience.
However, we can expect even more impact once virtual reality becomes integrated with live dealer casino gaming, which is readily available already on sites like CasinoEuro. While companies are already working on this, at the moment it is very much a work in progress. Based on the rapid pace of change in the world of technology, it won’t be too long before online casinos start offering a live dealer VR experience which can accurately replicate the real thing. Imagine sitting in your living room to play blackjack or casino hold ‘em in what looks and sounds like a real-world casino. Interact with live dealers and your fellow players as though you were sitting at the craps table, or choose to wander around the casino floor to take your pick of the games on offer.
At the moment the factor missing from the online casino gaming experience is the social element provided by a visit to a bricks and mortar casino. Virtual reality could go a long way towards addressing this need, by providing players with a sensation which replicates the social experience of a visit to your local casino. Indeed, the virtual experience may well prove more attractive to a generation which is accustomed to socializing online as much as or more often that in real-life situations. It is not hard to envisage a future whereby people are watching movies, travelling, enjoying sporting events and meeting up with friends online in a virtual reality environment. Perhaps ‘staying in’ will completely replace ‘going out’ as the way we talk about socializing in the future. It seems certain that virtual reality will play a major role in the future of our social lives and leisure activities, and that future is not far away.