The Influence of the Virtual Realm on Daily Living
Technology has always changed the world, from the rise of the plough to pesticides, an expanding road network and the automotive industry. Yet, in the last century, technological progress has moved more swiftly than ever, and nothing exemplifies this more than the internet. Daily life has changed, whether due to the ease of accessing the top online casinos, news reports, and weather forecasts or because the new employment opportunities mean workers have jobs that simply didn’t exist a decade ago. From streaming television to e-sports and video games, the virtual world has never had a bigger influence on the real one.
Gaming and iGaming
Both video games and casino gaming have been turned on their heads by the proliferation of internet access and improved speeds. Many games, even on consoles, are simply not bought in a physical format any more (Baldur’s Gate 3 being a major recent example). Bugs can be easily fixed via online patches. While this can occasionally be abused by firms that ship entirely broken games with promises to mend them in the future, usually, this means problems are rectified, and new content can be added. This has also revolutionised online multiplayer games, in the sense of both console/PC titles and shifting TTRPGs into the online sphere. Fuelled by popular franchises (most notably Critical Role), many are now playing RPGs via virtual desktops such as Roll20.
By definition, the virtual world has dramatically affected the best UK casino sites, as they would not exist without it. While casinos are present here and there in the UK, they have truly flourished in the online sphere and are readily accessible from anywhere in the country. The main problem a Briton faces in this regard is trying to pick where to play, and one way to narrow the list and evade option paralysis is with a casino directory such as Top10Casino.uk where objective reviews by third party experts present concise and clear information. New slots and old-fashioned table games bring real-world entertainment into the digital space, and new streaming technology has enabled live dealer tables. These feature an actual dealer and real table, with players participating remotely. And they can be accessed not just online but via mobile, enabling players to carry a casino in their pocket effectively.
Streaming and E-Sports
Streaming has helped enhance the online casino experience, but it is best known for changing the game when it comes to television. The biggest beast in the streaming TV jungle remains Netflix, but its immense success spawned a host of imitators from both established and new brands. Perhaps most notable was the rise of Amazon and Apple, as these tech giants had fortunes to spend. The convenience of streaming television, whenever desired, dispensed with the need both for schedules and recording what was on the box to avoid missing it. Whether watching the festive films of Christmas or bingeing on the latest shows, this has made watching TV more flexible than ever, and video technology has been used in other ways too. In addition to the live dealer casino gaming example mentioned above, online doorbells with cameras fitted enable homeowners to see who is approaching their front door and if any nefarious intent is involved.
Splitting the difference between video games and streaming television, Twitch has seen a rapid rise in the number of channels providing streamed video game entertainment for viewers online. The competitive side of this has come along in leaps and bounds in recent years, as e-sports have become featured more in the news and betting markets. While there are a few mainstays (League of Legends, Dota 2, CSGO), plenty of other games have either a smaller or intermittent set of eSports competitions. The Fortnite World Cup of 2019 epitomised this perfectly, as the year it was held the prize for the ultimate winner was more than the Wimbledon tennis champion earned.
Working from home (WFH) has always existed to a small extent, but the internet has made it viable in a way that it never was before. This ranges from work that happens remotely all the time to partially in-office, partially WFH, through to work that can be done remotely if extreme circumstances call for it. On a small level, this can mean when an individual is ill or the office has some sort of problem, and on a larger level, this was seen on a global scale during the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns around 2020. The pandemic would’ve been handled differently without the internet, potentially meaning a significantly higher infection rate.
Remote working is not for everyone and doesn’t fit certain types of work (a plumbing problem cannot be resolved remotely). But for increasing numbers of workers, it’s forming a larger slice of their working time.
Perhaps nowhere has the presence of the virtual world affected the real one more than the High Street. Shopping online at stores such as Amazon has become a convenient way to quickly order what one needs, from books to groceries, clothing to household goods. While city centre and out-of-town shopping centre shops remain important, they are now just one option, and many prefer to browse and buy online. This has had a dramatic impact on where people work and created challenges not just for the High Street directly but related services (coffee shops and restaurants) that benefited from heavy footfall driven by shopping.
Traditional brands have moved online, too, and Amazon has shifted slightly the other way, opening a few stores in the real world. Few shops today do not have an online site to encourage sales to people who find browsing virtually more straightforward than incurring the travel time necessary to do it in reality. Purchasing online was also a godsend during the recent pandemic and lockdowns, which affected brick-and-mortar businesses in a way the online sector managed to avoid.
From shopping to television, betting to video games, everyday life has been altered by the online world. As AI advances rapidly and tech firms push the metaverse, this is likely to continue.