Metaverse’s Impact on Online Gaming

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Online gaming is naturally a pastime that takes on new technology all the time, from basics like better graphics to different modes of playing, such as VR. But how will the metaverse shake things up?

Just what is the Metaverse?

For the general public, the metaverse hit the headlines when Facebook (now Meta) announced it was going all guns blazing to create its own. But what is the metaverse? First off, it’s more accurate to describe metaverses than the metaverse (although we’ll use the latter for this article as that’s how it’s commonly known). These are shared, online worlds, typically accessed via VR headset. There are already many, and will be more, with big companies scrambling to either create their own or to join one already in existence.

This has seen sportswear firms filing trademarks to sell virtual sneakers, and retail giants enabling the purchase, via crypto and NFTs, of virtual merchandise. And this is not just avatar clothing, there’s virtual real estate to be snapped up too. The metaverse is intended to be an integrated network of these different virtual worlds reached (mostly) by means of VR headsets. A lot of people may be asking if this is actually necessary, or a good thing. After all, we do already have an internet that (mostly) functions well. And while crypto and NFTs are accessible now, they’re set to be even more important in the metaverse. But what does this mean for gamers?

Online Casino Gaming in the Metaverse

Online casinos have always been quick to jump on technological bandwagons to expand their potential player base and benefit from advancing possibilities. This is best seen with the smartphone revolution, as most casinos and games are now designed from the ground up to be fully compatible with mobile platforms. Another way that online casinos seek to outdo one another is by offering no deposit bonuses. These free casino bonuses are a great way to have the best possible gaming experience as they provide the chance to win real money if things go your way. By using these no deposit bonus UK promotions, you’re playing risk-free, as no deposit is required to take claim them.

While the form may vary, it would be astonishing if metaverse casinos (which already exist, albeit in limited number at the time of writing) did not engage in similar competition with one another to try and win the battle for players. One major difference in the metaverse is that while cryptocurrency (especially Bitcoin) is becoming more widely available in traditional online casinos, it’s set to be the central funding method for metaverse casinos. It’s too early to be certain as the nascent metaverse is still in its earliest stages, but right now it seems that crypto will move from being an extra banking system (behind credit/debit cards and popular e-wallets) at typical online casinos to the main method of shifting funds into and out of metaverse casinos. This has some obvious implications, not least of which is the higher degree of volatility inherent in crypto compared to fiat currency, and the fact that the majority of people currently do not use crypto. The metaverse itself may end up driving general interest in crypto beyond its current limits.

And this could well go beyond simply swapping USD, GBP, and EUR for BTC and ETH. Already metaverse casinos are having players use personal avatars, with crypto used to buy NFTs (non-fungible tokens) that are wearable by said avatars, and function as tickets to play that are renewed daily.

More NFTs in Gaming?

So, will the world of video gaming see even more NFTs? It would be polite almost to the point of deception to say the general response of gamers to NFTs has been lukewarm. The NFT market was massive in 2021 but has declined substantially as people who got carried away realized they were buying assets that have no inherent value whatsoever. The bubble burst and many were left with digital art they spent a small fortune on, even though pictures can be easily copied (unlike physical art where an original was actually painted, sculpted, or otherwise created by an artist). Many gamers, already irked with being nickel-and-dimed by microtransactions, would be all too glad if NFTs vanished entirely.

It’s worth noting, however, that many believe NFTs will form an inherent part of metaverses, though this may vary from one shared world to another. In addition, some games are designed with them at their core, rather than a cash-gouging add-on to an otherwise normal game. This approach may be better for all concerned, as gamers not into NFTs can avoid them easily, and those who like them can play a game that was designed around them.

The trend in traditional gaming platforms is a decline of NFTs due to player displeasure in the face of big companies trying to make more cash out of them. And this love of NFTs has been seen in the metaverse already, with NFTs created for virtual avatar wearables, virtual real estate, and much more.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Another key difference between the metaverse and ordinary internet, and one that could dovetail neatly with gaming, is the emphasis on both VR and AR. Augmented Reality can work very well with certain specific game types, the standout example probably being the mobile game Pokémon Go (although this was also one of the few games to be negatively affected by real-world events when pandemic lockdowns came in). Virtual Reality was the next big thing in gaming for several decades, and while it now has come in, to an extent, there remain multiple competing headset firms and it’s nowhere near supplanting the ease (and lower cost) of just using a screen. That said, VR can work very well with certain game types that lend themselves to it, perhaps most obviously piloting/driving games that put the player in the cockpit or driving seat in first person.

VR gaming could well get a boost from the metaverse, which seeks to make use of a lot more VR and AR in its day-to-day activities. This may differ from shared world to another, with VR effectively mandatory in some metaverses and an optional extra in others, but it will significantly increase the utility of VR headsets, promote the growth of AR tech, and encourage gaming companies to make games that are either VR-only or at least support the use of VR.

Businesses want the Metaverse, but do Consumers?

Gamers are pretty used by now to getting the rough end of the stick, whether that’s buying a game to find story critical elements locked behind DLC (yes, Dragon Age: Inquisition, I mean you) or finding out that the approach to microtransactions is ridiculous (Dead or Alive does spring to mind). Lootboxes are on the verge of being banned or heavily regulated across the world due to their gambling similarities, and NFTs have been enthusiastically leaped upon by gaming firms and less than enthusiastically received by the people who actually play the games.

Will the metaverse be another case of big business getting all giddy over the potential of making money while gamers get unwanted (and expensive) fluff in the way of gaming? It’s too early to say, but the recent record of gaming companies in this sort of area has not exactly been one to encourage confidence in their judgment.

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