Factoring out the myriad of science fiction novels and films that have been highlighting the digital realm for many years, the metaverse is still a relatively new phenomenon.
To truly understand how online gaming works within the meta space, Technamin’s Founder and CEO, Suren Khachatryan, stressed we, as an industry, need to define what the concept means for the sector.
Speaking as part of CasinoBeats ongoing Heavy Meta Series, sponsored by SBC Advisory, Khachatryan asserted that, while everyone is still yet to tap into the full potential of the metaverse, the online gaming vertical already has elements which can be considered as “the first forays” into the virtual universe.
“We have various casinos that are digital reproductions which give the player the illusion of being inside a physical gaming location, albeit looking at it through a screen,” Technamin’s CEO stated. “The metaverse will only serve to make this experience even more immersive and realistic for the player.
“Lest we forget, cryptocurrencies will also play a big part here. It is very likely that these decentralised, digital currencies will dominate the metaverse, and their popularity today is a very visible hint that they will be around when the metaverse blooms into its ultimate form.”
“Some will embrace the metaverse with open arms, and others will be less accepting.”
Reminiscing on the early days of the internet, an idea which would be alien to most of us in this modern era, Khachatryan emphasised that “no one was sure what it was, or how big it would get” and believes the world as a whole could witness parallels when it comes to the metaverse.
He added: “Some will embrace the metaverse with open arms, and others will be less accepting.
“I think that in terms of online gaming, people will react positively, especially now, in a post-COVID reality where so many physical locations have shut down, having the ability to enter a ‘real’ casino from the comfort of one’s home will be a welcome relief. Keep in mind that AI is also expanding every day.
“We now have engines that can replicate human beings. Instead of a computer dealing the cards, you will be greeted with a life-like replica of a person, adding more feel to the playing experience. The metaverse also allows people to be present in the same simulated environment from different physical locations. This will cover the social encounter side of things.”
“Standards must be met in order to ensure that players enjoy their time in total safety.”
However, when it comes to responsible gaming policies, Khachatryan stressed that “people are people”, whether in a physical location or in a virtual reality, and the need to enforce RG should be just as strict within the metaverse.
“Standards must be met in order to ensure that players enjoy their time in total safety,” the CEO claimed. “The advancements we have made in online gaming allow us to follow responsible gaming regulations in a less rigid manner through customising the experience for the player.
“The same can be done in the metaverse, in an even more exciting way. The more customisable the games and the environment, the safer everything will be for the player.”
Looking into how online gaming can make the metaverse inclusive for all, Khachatryan warned interested users that, at least in the early stages, the metaverse will “remain a bit inclusive” as the concept progresses.
He continued: “It’s the same with every other phenomenon. As we move forward, new technological advancements will make it possible to mass-produce these devices and technologies for everyone to afford.
“I think there’s great potential here for creating breathtaking experiences that players can enjoy.”
“I remember when VR headsets first came out, and not a lot of people could afford them. Now you can find affordable devices everywhere online. The same thing happened with flying drones and action cameras.”
As with any uncharted territory, the risks remain an enigma until revealed. When addressing what risks the digital frontier will unveil, Khachatryan believes that this question can open a long chain of discussions.
Technological aspects will no doubt come into question, with Khachatryan predicting that ethics may have a part to play in regards to risk. One factor which Technamin’s CEO stressed would play a factor, from a very superficial point of view, would be the physical aspect.
“Many people complained that VR headsets induced headaches and nausea after being used for prolonged periods of time,” he explained. “Metaverse technology may cause the same issues.”
Alongside the aforementioned risks, Khachatryan highlighted the security potentially becoming problematic as everything will be based online with the potential of players and their information becoming exposed to greater risk.
“We are living in very, very exciting times in the igaming industry and in general!”
Moreover, he also brought up another potential concern – the length of player engagement: “Players will tend to stay in the virtual casinos for longer periods of time, with the experience being so immersive,” he explained.
“In terms of responsible gaming, this might be problematic. But on the other hand, I’m sure that responsible gaming tools will also evolve accordingly.”
With any new concept, the pros and cons list will forever grow, each overtaking the other at one point or another. However, Khachatryan concluded by expressing his thoughts that the online casino industry is “fully open to embrace” the metaverse but warned that the sector must “take every precaution to keep our players safe”.
Adding: “I think there’s great potential here for creating breathtaking experiences that players can enjoy. Imagine an online casino which is not just a screen you can click on, but a virtual world which you can inspect as you would do in a land-based casino, interact with other players directly, and even choose what type of clothing you can wear.
“On top of that, you can pay with ease using crypto, and the entire experience is fully customised to your preferences. We are living in very, very exciting times in the igaming industry and in general!”