The online gambling industry has gained a strong reputation as an early adopter of the newest technology – as soon as a new innovation arrives on the scene, this is an industry that loves to get a foot in the door.
Wearable Technology | A Game Changer for Online Gambling?
There is a very good reason for this, of course – every new technology has the potential to help these businesses reach out to new players, including the huge sector of people who are very happy to place bets or play casino games at a land-based venue but refuse to participate in the online gambling piece of the industry.
There are several common reasons cited by players for this disdain towards online gambling; for example, convincing people that the games are fair and should be trusted is one of the biggest challenges for gambling companies.
There are also huge numbers of potential players who say it is much too difficult to set up and utilize an online gambling account, preferring the comfortable setup they have become accustomed to at their local land-based casino.
In recent years, the online gambling sites have taken inspiration from the banking sector by integrating mobile phone casino login technologies and accepting new deposits via mobile-centric services such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.
The numbers suggest that the simpler you can make it for players to sign up and play, the more they are likely to try and do so, and Wearable Technology is seen as a potential way to enrich the player experience within the online gambling industry.
What is Wearable Technology?
The most obvious form of wearable technology is the smartwatch – something that you may already be familiar with right now. These devices didn’t immediately jump off the shelves in the same way that the smartphone did, but things are changing.
As the technology has matured and devices have been upgraded with better hardware and enhanced features, the smartwatch has begun to take off in a huge way.
Smartwatches are an interesting device for online gambling businesses to target – they are instantly accessible, likely to be always on, and loved by people who cannot use their mobile phones in certain locations but can still use their smartwatch to keep up with their digital lives.
Software developers have already begun to adapt their most popular slots to target these devices; Microgaming is one of the oldest names in the game and has seen a huge increase in the use of their smartwatch-based games over the past two to three years.
The smartwatch has potential as a second or hidden display in other games, too. You can keep track of previous results at the roulette table, for example, or check a strategy guide whilst playing card games such as blackjack. But smartwatches are not the end of the road for wearable technology…
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Virtual reality headsets such as those from Oculus and HTC have made serious inroads into the regular gaming space over the last few years, but still haven’t sold in the numbers that their manufacturers would like.
Online gambling is a perfect use for this technology – people can feel as if they are really walking around the floor at a land-based casino, for example – but live casino games may well be the “killer app”.
If you want to convince your customers that your games are fair, why not transport them to a physical table in a virtual reality environment? Players can sit with other gamblers to play blackjack, baccarat, or any other table game. These environments can be made ultra-realistic as they do not need to be updated at the ultra-fast pace of a typical video game.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
We have seen several “casino environments” being tested at this stage – virtual casinos that players can walk around and choose the game or machine they wish to play. It is the next stage which still needs building out by software developers – attractive, enticing games which can only be enjoyed at their best by means of a virtual reality headset.
Virtual Reality has not taken off with online casinos just yet – developers are being encouraged to create new games that will take full advantage of the format, but progress has been slow.
The biggest problem is convincing developers to create software for a device that not many of their players currently own. Of course, people are unlikely to buy the devices until the software is available – a true “chicken and egg” scenario.
We do not know what will happen in the future, but the potential for wearable technology in the online gambling industry is clear – if developers can be convinced to create the next wave of games and experiences, it could be a true gamechanger to this marketplace.