As metaverse poises to be one of the key trends this year in several business areas, including gambling, XR Casino has recently made the headlines when it announced its first corporate investor, BOTS, a global technology conglomerate specialized in Blockchain-based solutions that plans to launch a proprietary Metaverse based on Las Vegas.
XR Casino has completed the MVP versions of its initial games, Blackjack, Roulette, and Slot Machine in AR, MR, and VR. The beta version of its games is already available for iOS and Android, to work with Augmented Reality. The company is on track to launch its social casino games in a free-to-play format and NFT store in Q2, 2022. It seeks to partner with game aggregators, iGaming and land-based operators.
“Our patent-pending application is for an extended reality cross-technology gaming platform for the iGaming and Sports betting industries,” Dan Martinez, Founder and CEO of XR Casino, tells Yogonet in an exclusive interview. “One that allows players to play the same game together regardless of the immersive technology they are using, for example, a player using virtual reality can play with players using augmented reality and/or mixed reality. We are on track to file the utility patent by Q2 of this year.”
How will those initial games work; which are the key, distinctive features brought by those technologies, and which role will NFT play in your business?
Our games are immersive and fun to play, I highly recommend downloading our beta test games for smartphones and experiencing them in augmented reality. Extended reality technologies are new and exciting, immersive and much more fun to play than traditional 2D games. NFTs will be used to personalize game avatars and game assets such as decks of cards, casino chips, table skins, slot machine skins and collectibles.
Dan Martinez, Founder and CEO of XR Casino. Photo credit: Pedro Zenkl.
In July 2021, XR Casino said initial games would be featured in its mixed reality minimum viable product starting Aug. 21, and sports betting, baccarat, bingo, craps, poker and keno would follow. Which progress, changes and learnings have you seen since then? What are the current prospects for sports betting, baccarat, bingo, craps, poker and keno?
Yes, our initial games have been built in all 3 extended reality technologies. Once we complete our equity capital raise through Start Engine, we will begin the development of our other games and value-added-services including AI and Blockchain technologies. We have advanced in the development of our Fantasy Football XR Game.
What are the implications of offering SaaS solutions in today’s context?
Our goal is to provide XR casino and sports betting gaming solutions to both iGaming and land-based casino operators, these solutions will include Games-as-a-Service, XR Game development, and Software-as-a-Service including value added services to increase player retention, cybersecurity and transparency in game odds and payouts.
Which specific markets will you focus on first and why?
Our specific markets of focus are Asia, North America and Europe because of the size of these markets both in the number of players and potential for revenues as well as their existing mobile internet infrastructure. We believe that the adoption of XR technologies will be driven by Augmented Reality capabilities in mobile devices.
Which factors have led BOTS to become your first corporate investor?
BOTS has announced they will be launching a Las Vegas-themed Metaverse. Our games are Metaverse-ready and we both see clear synergies in partnering to capitalize on opportunities in their upcoming Metaverse, Vegas.mv.
What business model and approach will you take from now on?
We have different business models for our B2C and B2B segments. B2C: Free-to-play, we will generate revenues from monthly subscription fees, advertising sales, in-game play money sales and sales of NFTs to personalize avatars and game assets. Our B2B segment will generate revenues from licensing fees, game development fees and revenue sharing agreements.
Last month, BOTS started pre-orders to accelerate the development of its Metaverse and also acquired the domain VEGAS.MV for this project, which it said it would launch in two weeks. What’s the current status of that project, and which will be your specific contributions for this metaverse?
We plan on launching our free-to-play games on Vegas.mv when it goes live. The project is in development. Our initial specific contributions will be a Virtual Reality casino and virtual casino games.
Fast Offshore recently told us that the metaverse will change the online gambling sector forever, and that some companies are already working on integrating casino and betting into the metaverse, which will allow users and their avatars to gamble while exploring. The consultancy firm says that while the kit needed to access the metaverse (headsets and a powerful PC) is still quite expensive, these costs are likely to reduce as demand increases. Do you agree with any of these concepts?
Yes, I agree that the metaverse will change the gambling sector forever and I believe we are right at the forefront of this disruption by bridging the gap between the technology that most people hold in their hands today (Augmented Reality capable smartphones) and the metaverse (Virtual Reality) through our cross-technology solutions.
Which space and market share do you think metaverse is called to take in the gambling industry, within one to five years from now? How do you think this will complement or be combined with Live dealer games and streaming?
I think the metaverse represents a tremendous opportunity for the gambling industry, as a complement, making games more fun to play through XR technologies and in all spaces such as live dealer games and streaming. I think live dealer games and streaming will be combined with augmented reality and virtual reality. If I had to guess what the market share of metaverse gambling revenues will be in 5 years, I would guesstimate it to be similar to the first 5 years of online gambling revenues, adjusted for inflation.
Unikrn co-founder Rahul Sood told Yogonet in a recent interview that much of the wagering industry, particularly land-based operators, are unprepared for the paradigm shift that is already beginning, with many traditional operators already behind the curve on gaming. Do you see any kind of trend related to this view?
I absolutely agree with that statement. Over the last few months, I attended G2E in Vegas and the SiGMA conference in Malta and I reached the same conclusion, most existing operators are unprepared for the paradigm shift that’s already happening. As immersive technology games and market size continues to grow, I think we will see collaborations and acquisitions by traditional iGaming and land-based operators to try to keep up with their competition and stay relevant with the newer generations of players.
How will operators integrate, adopt and adapt these extended reality technologies to their existing assets and land-based casino/sportsbook environments?
This is where we see a tremendous opportunity for our B2B business model, providing solutions to operators so they can adapt, adopt and integrate extended reality solutions that will create new revenue opportunities and attract a newer generation of players. We already have XR games and can enable them to launch their branded games very quickly.
How could this retain existing audiences that still look for the traditional casino experience, and also attract the new generations at the same time?
Less than 25 years ago online gambling did not exist, now it’s a multi-billion dollar market. The launch of the internet and online casinos captured a new generation of players and increased revenues, in other words, it made the pie bigger for everyone. In my opinion, XR technologies and the metaverse represent the same opportunity for the casino industry as the internet did in its time.
Which kind of key live data from player behaviors could these XR products acquire and provide operators with? Which potential uses could this open for them?
XR products can incorporate Artificial Intelligence applications to improve the player experience and increase retention. AI programs can extract, classify and utilize live data from player behavior to improve that player’s gaming experience, to provide great customer service and improve player retention. Player retention is a top priority in the casino industry, it is estimated that just a 5% reduction in player attrition or “churn”, can increase casino profits by double digits. Therefore, I think immersive gaming experiences have the potential to provide live data that can increase casino’s profits significantly. XR Casino will be incorporating AI technology such as RPA, NLP and ML as a value-added-service in our SaaS model for B2B clients.
How would you assess current regulations for the use of these technologies in the gaming and betting markets you are targeting? What’s left to improve or update?
I believe that current regulations for the iGaming industry support the growth of XR gaming options both in the US and internationally and that game certification companies and regulators are very much aware of the importance of supporting the adoption of these new technologies to benefit players/consumers and the industry. There is a lot of room for improvement and updating, we see it as an opportunity for XR Casino as one of the pioneers in this space.