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Google and Facebook doubled down on VR – but will blockchain be the launchpad for VR adoption?

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Google and Facebook doubled down on VR - but will blockchain be the launchpad for VR adoption?

Virtual reality [VR] has attracted significant investment from technology companies over the past few years. Google Ventures, the capital investment arm of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has previously invested over $500 million in VR company, Magic Leap. This investment is in addition to the development of Google’s own products including Daydream and Cardboard.

In 2014, Facebook paid $3 billion to acquire VR company Oculus Rift. The company was founded by a tech entrepreneur, Palmer Luckey, who recently gave an interview at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit.

In the interview, he described his new VR venture and visions for the future of the market, expressing his belief that “VR is the final medium.” Market forecasts predicting that VR will grow to $55 billion by 2021 appear to support his view.

Too Ambitious?

As things stand though, VR does not seem to be gaining the mass adoption that it needs to justify these investments and forecasts. More skeptical observers have implied that it could take years for VR to reach a tipping point for adoption.

Even industry insiders have commented that brands need more education if they are to embrace VR as a marketing tool, taking the travel industry as an example of where VR can be used to showcase destinations and experiences.

Commercial adoption offers other opportunities for VR companies beyond individual consumers. Skills training is one example, particularly in high-stakes jobs like surgery. Trainee surgeons can now learn and test their skills in a VR environment before they operate on a patient.

Source: BusinessInsider

Source: BusinessInsider

Pilots have long been trained using aviation simulators. Palmer Luckey pointed out, during his Vanity Fair interview, that while consumers may not pay for a 5% enhancement to their viewing experience, institutions such as the military would opt for technology that can provide a 5% advantage.

However, even with the increasing uptake of VR in training and education, the market still needs to reach a tipping point. Could blockchain provide the answer?

Accelerating Growth with Blockchain

One VR company is now building its long-term vision around blockchain, aiming to make VR users of everyday consumers of sports and entertainment. Ceek has already built up an active user base of its headset and VR content through collaborations with big music stars namely Katy Perry, U2, Megadeth, and Lady Gaga.

Users can download the Ceek smartphone app from either Google Play or Apple App Store, and start watching their favorite acts on a Ceek headset, streaming straight from their phones.

However, the company is now leveraging the use of blockchain to create a “digital entertainment metaverse,” incentivizing artists to produce, and fans to consume VR content in a bid to increase mainstream adoption of the technology. An artist or sports team will be able to stage an event in one of Ceek’s digital venues and sell virtual tickets, which fans can purchase using the CEEK digital tokens.

Source: Youtube

Source: Youtube

By providing content in VR, artists can access audiences in remote place; fans who would otherwise be unable to attend their live concerts and events. This also increases the reach of VR to audiences who would perhaps otherwise not use the technology.

To further enhance the overall VR experience, Ceek has also recently announced that it is set to launch its own 4D audio headphones, which will provide its users with fully immersive audio-visual VR. The headphones incorporate interactive audio. This allows the user to hear sounds that change as they move within the VR environment, in the same way that we hear sounds relative to our position in real-life.

Creating this kind of rich sound experience provides a further enticement for would-be concert-goers to purchase a virtual ticket with digital tokens, so they can watch their favorite acts perform in VR.

Beyond Blockchain – Broader Growth Levers

The VR industry as a whole appears to understand that a boost is needed to enable more mainstream adoption of the technology. This is part of the reason that prices have been steadily reducing over recent years. However, making cheaper headsets is not the only answer, when audiences are required to opt into pricey hardware or are tied down to content from just one provider.

Releasing a standalone headset, one that does not require additional hardware such as a gaming console or even a phone, has been a popular move by manufacturers during 2018. HTC now has its standalone HTV Vive Focus, while Oculus has released the Oculus Go.

Source: UplaodVR

Source: UplaodVR

The Oculus Go also shares an app ecosystem with the Samsung Gear VR, meaning any game released for the Gear VR can also be played on the Oculus Go. Increasing content libraries through sharing between manufacturers is a savvy move that will make buying a headset seem like a better investment.

Ceek is also in the process of distributing its content to other VR manufacturers such as Facebook’s Oculus VR and Samsung’s Gear VR, with upcoming partnerships planned for sharing content with Microsoft’s Mixed Reality and HTC Vive.

The Tipping Point Is in Sight

Although it is true that the VR market has shown signs of sluggishness, all these developments provide positive indications that VR is now starting to appeal to a far broader base of consumers than ever before.

The incorporation of a blockchain token economy, as well as more accessible headsets, a rich audiovisual experience and integration between VR content providers and headset manufacturers, will create a more robust market than the current consumer base of hardcore gaming enthusiasts. It seems that mass adoption of VR could be right around the corner.

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Guest Post

Legislation of Casinos: Places that are taking steps towards complete Legalization of Gambling in 2019

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Legislation of Casinos: Places that are taking Steps Towards Complete Legalization of Gambling in 2019
Source: Pixabay

More and more people are seeing any form of gambling as morally acceptable. In a 2009 poll by The Gallup, only 58% of people in the US seem to accept this industry. With an update for 2018, the percentage has raised to 69%.

There could be multiple reasons why people still have different opinions about gambling, whether it’s through the form of playing a casino game online or in any establishment or betting on any sports and games. Opinions could be formed because of a person’s religion, income, and race, and educational attainment.

The legalization of gambling could also affect how people see it. With more and more places all over the world taking steps to legalize any form of gambling in their area, people are becoming more accepting of this industry. In here are some note-worthy updates about the legislation on gambling all over the world.

Regulation of Online Gambling in Ontario, Canada

Any form of gambling was made illegal in Canada half a century ago and it was in 1969 when the provincial and federal government of the country were allowed to host lotteries. Then in 1985, each province was then allowed to legalize any form of gambling that they choose.

With all of those updates on Canadian law regarding gambling, there wasn’t really anything that targets online gambling until recently, when a press release from the Canadian Gambling Association [CGA] was spread.

With this, online gambling laws in Canada seem to be taking its shaped. CGA has noticed how much Canadians, particularly in Ontario, has been wagering on online gambling websites outside the country. More than $500 million are spent by the people of Ontario in gambling each year.

Because of this, CGA and the local government see the need to have their country put in place an online regulated system to allow their citizens to place wagers on any gambling sites safer. For now, the CGA is looking forward to taking part in the government’s planned dialogues with this industry’s stakeholders.

Pennsylvania’s Online Gambling Launch

Pennsylvania will be the fourth state in the US to launch and legalize online casinos. It was previously announced that PA online casino and poker servers should be up in at least the first quarter of 2019.

However, because of the recent DOJ interpretation of the Wire Act of 1961, the PA’s Gaming Control Board decided to delay the launch for a bit.

It is expected that most online casinos in PA will then be launched in mid-2019, where the earliest target date is in mid-June. This was as instructed by the PA’s Gaming Control Board, and they expect online casinos to comply.

For now, if you’re in PA but can’t wait to play online casino games, you can check the top betting sites online. There are some casino sites that can give you insights about the best casinos you can find on the web. This site will also let you know whether an online casino will accept bettors from your place.

Remote Gambling Bill in the Netherlands

Like a lot of European countries, the Netherlands is deemed lax when it comes to their laws about gambling in any form. However, before 2012, when it comes to online gambling, the Dutch community seems to be restricted about playing casinos online.

Back then, the Dutch people are allowed to place their bets online, but this was only through local servers, which at that time was limited. However, even if more and more websites are starting to get based in the Netherlands, there are still Dutch people who’re place their bets on foreign casino websites that go unnoticed.

Because of this, a bill was submitted to allow Netherland’s government to issue licenses to foreign websites and let them legally accept wagers from the Dutch citizens.

On the 19th of February, the Netherland’s senate placed votes on the Remote Gambling Bill, which already passed the Ditch parliament three years ago. The result was much anticipated and is now good news to foreign online casinos.

Sometime next year, the Dutch government will start to issue online gambling licenses to foreign casino websites and end the monopoly of online gambling in the country. Analysts shared that the process of issuing online gambling licenses might start in January 2021.

Next year may only be the start of application requests from foreign and local stakeholders. The only problem that some foreign casinos that may have to face are the “cooling period”. This is a proposal by the Dutch Minister of Legal Protection that would not allow operators who have been accepting bets from the Dutch citizens prior to the legalization for two years.

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