Virtual reality tech has exploded over the last decade, but compared to other digital technologies, it’s still in its functional infancy. Though the most cutting edge of what’s on the market today, like the PSVR2, is incredibly impressive, they have some limitations that hold them back from mass adoption. Given the trajectory and goals of VR, the solutions appear to be on the mobile front, even if there’s still a long time till our technology allows us to reach that point. It’s a long journey ahead, but all roads appear to lead to the same place.


The All-in-One

The concept of VR on mobile systems is not new, having briefly experienced a moment in the sun with systems like the Gear VR. Instead of being separate models, this approach to VR would use a phone as a screen, and a separate device as an enclosure. This would vastly decrease overall cost, and as noted by legendary John Carmack, the industry ‘missed an opportunity’ by abandoning this path.

Two primary reasons make the mobile approach one that developers and VR speculators were so excited about, smartphone VR’s capability to break into an undeveloped market and the growing emphasis mobiles have in our lives. The VR market is expected to experience a 13.3% CAGR from 2023-2030, a slow but steady increase. Part of the reason for this slow growth is the price of dedicated VR systems, which can easily cost over $1,000. With a smartphone as a base, the cost barriers to entry are lowered considerably.

Mobiles as the focus of our tech lives are illustrated through many different avenues. They’ve already taken over how we use social media, and they’re continually challenging how we browse the net and consume media. With device power increasing all the time, they’re replacing game systems, and are even becoming viable work machines with docking systems able to turn an iPhone or Android smartphone into a laptop. VR would represent just another step here, to consolidate a multitude of options into one ubiquitous piece of hardware.

Opening Potential

The technology within smartphones in 2023 is impressive, but even so, the demands of VR are high. This means that for the first steps in mobile VR, a focus on simple software would be the most beneficial. For adults, a great example could be demonstrated by the ecosystem of online casino gaming. A return and update of a system like the Samsung Gear S4 could leverage this to a significant extent, thanks to shared compatibilities.

For an example of what modern online casinos offer that could work with VR, consider the best mobile casino apps online in 2023. Here, websites like Macau Casino and FireVegas are already built on being welcoming to newcomers with special features like deposit matches and free spins. They’re compatible with a wide range of payment options like Skrill, Neteller, and paysafecard, and, most importantly, their games aren’t especially demanding. Modern casino games built on HTML5 are developed to work well even on older systems, and this makes them perfect fits for VR.

Processing Power and Display

The nature of VR makes it more complicated and demanding on hardware than gaming on regular displays. VR games require one image in each eye for the effect to work, which means increasing the demands on the hardware video output. It also means maintaining a frame rate of at least 90 FPS, below which the chances of motion sickness are far greater. Two images at high frame rates can be a stretch for mobile systems, but in casino games, since the demand for hardware is low, it’s very possible. This would prove similar to many mobile games, which have lower requirements than their PC counterparts.

Augmented Reality and Control

Fully VR gaming with smartphones is one part of the equation, whereas the other part could be played by AR. Thanks to smartphones including increasingly powerful cameras, their capacity for AR is also naturally advanced. In simple mobile games, this potential could manifest as entire environments placed virtually. The camera tracking and simple controls of mobile would also work well, where the confusion would be minimized. Of course, controllers would also work, as could the coming gen of haptic gloves, but from a streamlined effort, the fewer peripherals the better.

Using mobile casino games as just one example, it’s simple to see why both industry experts and users feel let down by a lack of current smartphone VR support. Whether or not this pattern will persist, that could be a question of vision for the next generation. It’s entirely likely that larger VR investments like Meta’s could develop killer apps that bring back mobile VR, or it could be indie efforts that set a spark to ignite a fire. Make no mistake, mobile VR becoming a cornerstone of the industry is a matter of when and not if, we just don’t know how long the next steps could take.

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Vineet Maheshwari is a passionate blogger and relationship oriented digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience in SEO, PPC management, web analytics, domain investing, affiliate marketing and digital strategy. He has helped high tech brands connect with customers in an engaging manner, thereby ensuring that high quality leads are generated over time.