The rivalry in online gaming is heating up, and players are becoming increasingly demanding. Single-customer acquisition expenses in some areas sum up to $440, with rising churn rates. On top of that, the online gaming industry is having difficulty attracting millennials, a highly lucrative segments of the market. The casino experience is no longer captivating the younger generation.
The video gaming industry, however, has a very good grasp of millennials’ needs and created the best of both worlds for them by incorporating elements of luck into their games. We've witnessed their first successful moves into the online gambling market with the advent of loot box systems and Grand Theft Auto's in-game casino. With over 30 million active users, GTA V online recently launched an in-game casino where gamers can wager real money on games like poker, slots, roulette and more. This led to the return of churn users, bringing GTA Online's active player count to its highest level since its introduction in 2013.
The online gaming business has almost fully exploited the mobile medium's potential. The time has come to explore for fresh and imaginative ways to provide clients with a next-generation experience.
Virtual reality's potential
Could a virtual reality (VR) casino, fully developed, be the game changer in online gaming, providing users with an immersive experience and infinite opportunities?
Virtual reality has a substantial consumer base, despite its lack of widespread adoption. Analysts believe that it’s bound to grow exponentially to eventually become the norm in roughly five years. According to market research companies, by 2022, the virtual reality market’s value will reach $117 billion, with over $520 billion in bets made through VR by the end of 2021 (Juniper Research). VR's mass adoption will be aided by the development of fully portable, untethered, and inexpensive VR headsets enabled by the upcoming 5G technology.
Social contact at various levels
Gambling fascinates precisely because it’s a social activity. Unfortunately, online gaming services do not allow for much personal engagement. VR technology offers a variety of ways to relive and even improve that social experience. One of the key reasons for Fortnite's success is the ability to connect with other players. This type of co-experience represents the next wave of entertainment. According to some research conducted by Facebook, people spend more time on virtual reality than in any other media, which means higher profits for casinos. By adding Voice UI to their games to replace hand controllers traditionally used to make a call, pass or raise, Pokerstars has taken steps in this direction.
The avatars of the gamers are another way to incorporate the social element into online gaming services. They let players come up with and develop their own identities, which are reflected in their avatars' appearance as well as their social, competitive, and community status. Players are eager to pay real money for virtual drinks at the bar, for example. As a token of appreciation, operators might provide these social touchpoints to VIP clients free of charge.
Virtual reality also adds a new layer to customer support. Avatars can also be used by customer support to help the player in person. The social moment boosts players' lifetime value and helps to reduce churn.
Changing the way games are made
A virtual reality headset is far more “competent” than a 2D mobile or desktop screen. To have a competitive advantage with VR, games must be rebuilt from the ground up. For example, teleporting the user into the slots' world of a specific era can make a VR slot game fully immersive. Then add real-life graphics, spatial noises and animations to round out the experience. When wagering on virtual race cars, teleport the user who bet on the car so he can get a first hand experience of the race.
New sources of revenue
New revenue stream opportunities are popping up, created by virtual reality casino lobbies: brand placement on venue walls, a bar with the company logo, and so on. This type of branding is rather seamless for the user’s perspective. On top of that, an entire new dynamic is created in this virtual reality as users can experience a casino in Las Vegas on one day, and another the next day. By allowing users to have this rich and dynamic experience, retention rates rise.
The biggest chunk of online gaming companies' income is generated by high-roller players. Despite the fact that they make up a minority of active players, it is still profitable for an operator to create a separate VR casino brand for these VIPs/high-rollers. The operator can reduce churn and optimize VR efforts for these groups by providing exclusive VR gaming experiences to them.
The trick with VR is not to focus on the masses at first, rather, it’s crucial to concentrate on quality. Although the target audience may be small, once these gamers get a taste of it, they will become brand ambassadors for your product.
Without a doubt, the VR medium's opportunities and possibilities far outnumber those of mobile and desktop. Virtual reality is a new frontier not just for gaming but for many industries, and it's intriguing to see where it leads and what sort of innovation it offers.