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  1. We live in a fast-paced world powered by countless marvels of technology. Over the past few decades, the world has witnessed things that even some of the biggest visionaries of the past couldn’t dream up. And it seems we’re on the verge of yet another technological revolution that’s being ushered by new 5G technology and that’s likely to have a huge impact on the online gaming niche across the spectrum. Why Is 5G Such a Big Deal? Although most of you reading this have probably heard a lot about 5G already, you might be wondering what all the hype is about. After all, there is already 4G and the switch from 3G to 4G didn’t really have that big of an impact. However, 5G technology will create a huge leap, significantly increasing mobile internet speeds. In the early stages, you may only get download speeds of 300 – 1,000 Mbs but later on, this number could go as high as 10 Gbps. This means you could download a full-length movie in the highest quality in a matter of seconds. And, according to some tests, in certain environments, 5G speeds could reach 25 Gbs, which is 250 times faster than what you currently get with 4G. And, while breaking speed records in such manner is definitely impressive, it is the potential that this new technology will unleash that really matters. Ushering Way for New Style of Gaming You probably remembered 2016 and the hype that was created around Pokemon GO, the first mobile game to really take the concept of Augmented Reality and bring it to the masses. Four days after the initial launch, Pokemon GO had become the number one mobile game in the US, with 21 million downloads. While the game itself wasn’t particularly complex, it was the first real attempt to bring the gaming experience out in the real world. Various pokemons were virtually scattered around the real world locations and players could use their phones to locate and pick them up. Judging by the numbers, players loved it. Of course, the gaming industry as a whole and the gambling niche specifically have been experimenting with AR for some time now. Pokemon Go was definitely a great proof of concept and gave wings to the visionaries out there. However, technology wasn’t there just yet to really go full out. 5G could change things forever. With super-high internet speeds, there will be no more limitations for cloud-based gaming. Players won’t need to have any information stored locally, so it will be possible to feature much more complex and demanding games as all processing will be happening on the cloud servers. With such fast response times, there will no longer be any obstacles. Bringing “Real” Casino to Your Home When it comes to gambling industry, it has been struggling a lot lately to keep new generations of players interested. What used to work before simply doesn’t any more. For millennials, traditional slots that require no skill and offer no real challenge simply don’t cut it. They require more entertainment than traditional RNG doesn’t offer. And, while live casinos still hold their own due to the overall experience they’re able to offer, the online gambling niche is falling behind. However, Virtual and Augmented Reality could offer a solution to this problem and 5G could be the final missing piece, allowing players to enjoy the full experience using just their phones. Although this technology isn’t widely available just yet, it could offer a true lifelike experience, with dealers, other “patrons”, and, of course, gaming tables and slot machines you could actually interact with. You’d still need your VR goggles, of course, but compared to today’s online casinos, this is a whole new level. Shared Gaming Experiences So far, online gambling has been a rather solitary experience. Even though some operators have tried to improve this particular aspect, the whole setup is such that you simply don’t get many opportunities for shared experiences. The combination of 5G and AR platforms could change the whole paradigm quite drastically. The biggest obstacle to this becoming reality right now is the maximum connection speed. The 4G network simply doesn’t have the capacity to carry the amount of information required to create large shared experiences involving multiple players. As 5G evolves and unlocks its capacity, Game developers will definitely jump on the opportunity to create complex and immersive worlds that will pull players in. While this may still feel like science fiction even right now, all the signs indicate that this style of gaming will become standard in a very near future. There is little doubt that this is exactly what players want and game creators will be happy to accommodate as soon as the opportunity is there. But how far are we, really? Expensive Gear Might Be the Biggest Barrier Right now, the equipment required to enjoy a complete VR and AR experience is still quite expensive. For most players, this is the biggest issue. While you may want a better and more immersive experience, you might not be thrilled about the idea of dishing out $1,000+ just for entertainment. When it comes to the gambling industry, this might be an even bigger obstacle. While there might be a fair number of hardcore gamers ready to dig deep into their pockets, there aren’t that many dedicated casino players. If you couple that with the fact that gambling is, by definition, a losing proposition, this is another issue the industry has to deal with. However, time has shown that prices of technology tend to decline quite rapidly. Just look at the prices of computers or mobile phones. Sure, you can still spend a fortune on a brand new PC, laptop, or even a phone, but you can also get a very good one at a very reasonable price. There is no reason to think AR technology will be any different in this regard. Once 5G takes hold and we get first fully developed AR experiences, the price will likely be very high. However, as the initial craze subsides and sales start to take a hit, companies will begin to create affordable models to tackle a much wider market. It is also quite possible that once this technology goes live in the online gambling world, some of the bigger casinos will provide their biggest players with the gear completely free of charge. For them, it is a drop in a bucket and a great way to advertise the new style of gambling, giving select players an opportunity to experience it at no additional costs. Is Gambling Industry Ready for the Change? Despite all the indicators and all the research, it is no secret that people running some of the biggest names in the world of gambling aren’t that open minded when it comes to changes. The casino industry has established itself over many decades and from the numbers it posts, things clearly work quite well. Taking a step off the well-known and safe path is a big challenge. While there is a big segment of the market that clearly wants the change, the gambling industry is far from being in dire straits. Hundreds of millions all over the world still quite enjoy the traditional way of gambling and are quite happy with the current state of affairs. So, for casinos, it’s a balancing act. They can’t run the risk of alienating existing players whilst they have to find the ways to attract those who just don’t find the current setup very appealing at all. In all likelihood, major online casinos will be the ones to do the heavy lifting in this revolution. While brick and mortar venues have been toying with the idea of AR and definitely want to take advantage of it, they probably don’t have the proper drive to really switch things around. On the other hands, many online operators have always closely followed latest trends in technology, experimenting with different things as early as possible. To be fair, it is probably much easier for the gambling sites to do this as they aren’t nearly as restricted in terms of physical space and costs related to buying equipment. What Does All This Ultimately Mean for Players? At the end of the day, the biggest question is what all these changes will mean for the end-user, i.e. the player? How will AR powered by 5G change your personal gaming experience and is it something that you want to happen? There is really no liner answer to this question. While 5G represents maybe one of the greatest technological developments in the recent history, not everyone is as excited about it. It’s not like we don’t already have fast internet speeds and access to all sorts of entertainment via our numerous devices. Some may even argue that all this VR and AR talk is a bit scary. Going back to the Pokemon Go example, it was sometimes funny to see people chasing invisible monsters all over the place. And Pokemon Go is nowhere near to what modern AR simulations are going to look like. A more immersive virtual casino experience has its upsides but it has its risks as well. Getting completely pulled inside a beautifully designed world filled with bright lights and countless gambling opportunities can easily lead to spending way more than you intended. Walking out of brick and mortar casino isn’t always the easiest thing to do and these AR platforms won’t be much different. But there is no need to take things too far. These new technologies will definitely improve the overall quality of your playing experience if you decide this is something you’d enjoy. There is always a certain feeling that this is just too much but couldn’t the same thing be said about the development of the gaming industry in general? Several decades ago, computer games were flat, simple, and not very exciting. Today, we have fully developed 3D worlds offering exciting adventures and virtual worlds that just pull you in. AR and VR are logical next steps in the process and it was just the matter of time before it happened. With 5G becoming a reality, it seems like it is finally happening. Living the Future For some of us, many of the things happening in the world of technology right about now seem to share many characteristics of things we used to watch in our favorite sci-fi shows. Even if the idea of fully immersive gaming worlds has been present almost for as long as computers have been around, not many people believed it would become a reality so soon. However, it seems that we’re now on the cusp of 5G introducing the necessary missing part to allow game developers to give us these amazing digital worlds that take the idea of entertainment to a whole new level. It is still very early days for Augmented Reality but once it kicks off there will be no stopping it. We’ve already seen just how immersed people can become with an AR game so this effect is likely to be much stronger with more complex games offering more complex tasks and more meaningful rewards. Of course, this technology will likely find its applications in many areas outside of gaming as its potential is almost limitless. It could change the way we receive information and interact with all sorts of digital content, creating a brand new world wide web. But, in all likelihood, the gaming and gambling industry will be the torchbearer for the AR revolution. They have the most incentive to do it and the best target market to test it on. Yes, we’re the generation living the future that will get to experience all the marvels of VR technology and potentially see the biggest technological revolution since the birth of the internet.
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