The metaverse is a truly global concept and one that underpins a marketplace that could be worth as much as $426.9 billion by 2027. In Canada alone, the metaverse and its economic impact will grow at a CAGR of 39.13% between now and 2030, creating a marketplace that will eventually be worth $11 billion.
At the same time, Canada’s economy is also being boosted by a recently regulated and high-growth iGaming marketplace, which is projected to be worth approximately $2 billion by the end of this year. The market will also grow at a CAGR of 8.57% over the course of the next four years, before peaking at a total value of over $3 billion by 2027.
Of course, it should come as no surprise that the boundaries between these two markets are also blurring in the digital age, especially with gambling already widespread and popular in various iterations of the metaverse.
But what exactly is the metaverse, and how will it continue to impact iGaming and the Canadian marketplace in particular?
What is the Metaverse?
Broadly speaking, the metaverse describes a largely virtual iteration of the Internet as a single (or at least immense) virtual realm that exists alongside the corporeal world.
Of course, there are many different types and iterations of the metaverse. Through the use of augmented reality (AR), for example, it’s possible to create an accessible metaverse that combines selected aspects of the digital and physical worlds.
Then some metaverses are powered by virtual reality (VR), which are essentially permanent and completely digitised worlds that remain active and populated even when you’re not playing.
The ‘Meta’ platform (formerly Facebook) is also constructing its own branded metaverse, which will create additional income streams for the company and widespread commercialisation.
Some cryptocurrencies (like Axie Infinity) have also established their own virtual and private metaverse realms, which operate like bespoke digital economies and make use of non-exchangeable tokens such as NFTs.
How is the Metaverse Already Impacting Online Gambling?
OK, we hear you ask, but how is the metaverse already impacting online gambling and casino gameplay? The answer to this question is multifaceted, but below you’ll find a summary of how iGaming has evolved since the introduction of the metaverse.
- Driving Greater Blockchain Integration: Even in a newly regulated market like Canada, secure payments and cross-border transactions have been long-standing issues shared by online gamblers. This can be a concern even when wagering at a reputable real money online casino in Canada, with a lot of wide payment systems either unreliable to susceptible to fraud. The good news is that the metaverse is powering far greater blockchain integration, which creates inherently secure payments and negates the imposition of third-party fees and controls.
- The Restoration of Classic Gambling Features: While modern online casinos effectively replicate many facets of corporeal gambling, some games remain without their traditional characteristics when played in a virtual setting. This isn’t the case in the metaverse, which often leverages either VR or AR to create fully immersive and interactive games that can be accessed anywhere. This will be most impactful in the online poker vertical, where players can once again read physical tells and the body language of their opponents.
- Benefit from Enhanced Game Selection: One of the main benefits of online gambling is that it offers access to a diverse range of casino games and verticals, especially when compared to brick-and-mortar alternatives. Arguably, transitioning casinos to the metaverse will increase this range of games even further, from slots and table games to the most obscure iterations of blackjack and craps. The metaverse also creates scope for greater casino game development, which may allow players to interact with one another in different ways online.
The Last Word – How Will the Metaverse Impact iGaming in the Future?
There’s no doubt that the sustained evolution of software and concepts such as the metaverse have already had a dramatic impact on how we consume media (like films and games), but we’re only really at the beginning of this journey.
The rise of cryptocurrency-backed metaverses has also ushered in an age of decentralisation, with this characterised by the advent of open-source, Web3 games in the iGaming marketplace.
Arguably, decentralised metaverse realms represent the future of this burgeoning industry across all applications, but online gamblers will be particularly appreciative of this given their desire for privacy and virtual anonymity.
Interestingly, we may also see a completely new and revolutionised era of gaming marketing in the future, with brands and advertisers looking to leverage the metaverse to convey more compelling messaging. This could mean highly immersive in-game advertisements being aired by online casino brands, during natural breaks in gameplay and before the next hand or spin of the reels.
Ultimately, this remains an incredibly exciting space, and while the metaverse has already begun to change the face of online gambling in Canada and across the globe, more is sure to come in the medium and longer term.
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