Virtual reality has, for many years now, operated according to its own unique sense of time. For anyone who has been watching the technology unfold since its contemporary inception back in the early 2010s, it seems as though each year brings a new promise of a revolution within the worlds of development, and consumer interest.

For, unfortunately, owning one of these headsets will still put you into something of a minority among gamers. While the novelty of immersing ourselves within gameplay and enhancing the sensorial experience is certainly not lost on those of us who have yet to invest in the kit, the need for it—and its ability to remain a key piece of gaming equipment after the initial novelty has passed—remains unconvincing enough as to keep the tech out of the mainstream—or for the most part, anyway.

There have been misguided attempts, failed attempts, and weak attempts that have punctuated each and every year since the first devices made their way onto shelves. Of course, there have been successes—VR technology has grown in scope, market size, and revenue—but its shortfalls have proven far more conspicuous, particularly in light of the promises put forth by those who first positioned themselves to spearhead the industry all those years ago.

Still, there remains significant hope for this technology—if only it finds the right avenue to lead it into mainstream usage and popularity. Could digital poker be the path forward?

Virtual Poker is a Predecessor to the Hardware

The headsets that make manifest the notion of virtual reality may well be the be all and end all of the VR industry—you cannot, of course, create that level of immersivity without them—but the concept of translating long-since established and highly nuanced real-life scenarios into immersive and compelling virtual representations is something that has turned online poker into an incredibly profitable and venerable gaming genre.

The best example of this would be, a site long-renowned not only by fans of the genre, but by some of the real-world’s most prominent and recognized professionals. From Dan Bilzerian to Felipe Ramos and Bertrand Grospellier (Elky), expert players have found a virtual home which can act as an effective extension to their real-world games and tournaments.

The journey poker made from land-based to virtual may have occurred gradually over the last two decades, but the leading sites exemplify the potential virtualized reality holds for anyone who possesses the skill, creativity and flair needed to make it work.

The Popularity Will Bring Fans Across

Poker has been a mainstay in many adults’ lives since long before its virtualization took place, but the high stakes and ease of access offered by the online casino has ensured that the genre continues to see significant growth, and to dominate many other areas of the online gaming industry.

For a game that has proven so resilient against the changing tides and trends of the gaming world, any emerging technology should find it prudent to utilize it in order to attract fans. It also offers the hardware a niche into which it can insert itself – a niche that, admittedly, features one of the largest player bases in the world.

The VR industry continues to suffer from a significant lack of interest among otherwise devout gamers—many of whom feel that the games on offer through the technology continue to miss the mark set by console, PC and mobile game development. By creating a focus, and homing in on one long standing, time-tested genre within gaming, virtual reality can finally walk before it attempts to run, and begin to grow a core userbase from the heart of the online gaming world.

Whether you were among the first to invest into VR technology, or remain decidedly against spending any money on the tech until you can be sure it will grant you access to the very height of modern gaming, it is no secret that the entire industry built around these devices is floundering. Perhaps it is a combination of issues: Zuckerberg’s attempt to make deleting your Facebook incompatible with using the Oculus headset, for instance, alongside the continued lack of titles available to play.

Time will, of course, tell whether or not it can truly find its legs, or whether it will continue to struggle within a niche of its own making.