The fully fledged combination of iGaming, Web 3 and the metaverse is several years away and still has many hurdles to overcome, according to speakers on the metaNEXT conference track at iGaming NEXT Valletta 2022.
Some of the obstacles in place include the need for developments in technology (including the improvement of graphics and visuals in digital environments), a lack of regulation, which creates additional risk for iGaming firms who may wish to enter the space, and the need for a higher level of customer education in order to welcome more people into the world of Web 3.
When asked to offer her prediction on what will change regarding Web 3 and the metaverse in the future, Net Gaming CEO Pallavi Deshmukh said: “At this stage, with the way Web 3 technology is, it’s definitely not scalable. It’s slow and it still needs to improve tremendously, which will happen over the next five years.”
Other speakers taking part in the conference agreed with this sentiment, adding that the way metaverse environments look – with graphics still a long way behind those seen in video gaming, for example – will also prevent many potential customers from jumping into the technology in its current form.
Net Gaming CEO Pallavi Deshmukh said: “At this stage, with the way Web 3 technology is, it’s definitely not scalable. It’s slow and it still needs to improve tremendously, which will happen over the next five years.”
Still, some customers are more likely than others to use Web 3-related technology on a daily basis, and that likelihood is at least in part determined by geographical region, according to XCoin head of business development Narcis Gavrilescu.
He said: “If you go to Asia, Africa and the Gulf, it’s easy to onboard crypto customers – but if you go into Europe, you need to educate people and slowly bring them in, to explain why crypto is better and speeds things up at the end of the day.”
While customer education will certainly be a crucial step on the path to widespread adoption of metaverse environments, regulations – or a lack thereof – are yet another problem for the industry to overcome, particularly when it comes to iGaming.
Gambling games are already gaining popularity in the metaverse, as pointed out by James Ashton, founder and CEO of Decentraland’s Vegas City.
XCoin head of business development Narcis Gavrilescu: “If you go into Europe, you need to educate people and slowly bring them in, to explain why crypto is better and speeds things up at the end of the day.”
He said poker games in the digital Sin City attract some 600-1,000 concurrent players, making it one of the most popular attractions in the metaverse.
Those games are free-to-play, however, and remain a long way from being overtaken by their real-money equivalents.
For large operators in licensed jurisdictions, a lack of concrete regulation around metaverse gambling is likely to create significant reluctance to take a risk on the emerging technology.
Without a proper framework in place, metaNEXT speakers agreed that the successful entry of established iGaming companies into the metaverse remains a long way away.