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What 5G Has In Store For The Future Of e-Sports & Gaming

Mega-hit games such as PUBG and Fortnite have sparked some massive growth in the gaming industry. Naturally, this has led telecoms, phone manufacturers, and app developers to capitalize on the trend immensely.

However, the already lucrative $138 billion gaming and eSports market is about to grow even more. Given the throughput, speed, and low latency needed for creating an even better gaming experience, the much anticipated fifth generation (5G) technology’s capability to handle such needs is bound to boost the growth of this industry even more.

5G will improve the experience of streaming multi-user games and eSports

Intel, Telstra, and Ericsson conduct a joint eSports trial over 5G in Australia
eSports tested over 5G
Source

The significance of 5G connectivity comes with the rise of eSports and multiplayer gaming competitions, which have elevated gaming to the realm of professional sports. The eSports market alone was valued at $500 million in 2016 by Goldman Sachs. He predicted approximately 22% annual growth over the following three years, leading to a $1 billion industry. According to BI Intelligence, around 300 million people globally watch esports, and by 2020, this number would reach 500 million.  

5G comes in handy to this market, given its high speeds and low to zero latency. This means lag-free online gaming, fast downloads, and ample use of the clouds. In fact, these are what are needed to meet the growing demands of gamers worldwide, both professional and casual. In short, 5G will change the world of gaming and eSports in a number of ways.

5G presents breakthrough for gaming & eSports market

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The widespread rollout of 5G is expected next year, 2020. However, the technology has already seen some action in 2019, in the form of Korean mobile networks that have achieved 1 Gbps bandwidth already.

With 5G, gaming hardware doesn’t require excessive processing power. 5G will reduce the time required for data to be crunched or a heavy file to be downloaded or uploaded quickly and easily. The technology will also provide for lag-free gaming, creating a smoother, jitter-free online experience for streaming games.

Also, edge computing will shorten the distance data has to travel. It can profoundly reduce the network latency associated with the cloud.

Future of video gaming with 5G & Cloud Computing

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Advancements in cloud computing may influence the future gaming landscape. Console developers may transit to cloud-based subscription services to achieve greater flexibility and reduced upfront costs for enthusiasts while providing upgraded performance.

However, the technology is not so perfect as to support all firms attempting to gain space in cloud gaming. The impending wireless standard – 5G – may be the solution to their problems. Another problem might be the actual price. Costs will result in prices that are much higher than a monthly subscription to Spotify or Netflix. This is because data centres have to be close to the users. But the high price may just mean high performance.

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According to Mark Hung, vice president at Gartner Research, 5G cloud enables tactile internet with short latency that provides instant feedback. It suggests that 5G could resolve the latency problem associated with cloud-based gaming. 5G will reduce the latency to 0.5 milliseconds, down from ten milliseconds with the current 4G standard.

In addition to providing high-quality gaming to any device, 5G may solve many other problems in the video game world. It could enable games to stream old games onto their latest devices. Once 5G becomes prevalent, console makers may start re-examining the mobility of their consoles to provide a high-quality gaming experience on the go.

5G will fuel the growing esports industry According to eSports Charts, the market was estimated have generated $1.5 billion in revenue. After the launch of 5G, the market is expected to exceed $2 billion by 2021.

eSports is expected to see an increase in revenue by the year 2021, with the emergence of 5G
Expected eSports revenue by 2021
Source

eSports leagues have specific technological needs to support tournament plays. Currently, they rely on expensive, wired, fibre internet connections that require IT specialists to set up and manage. This is not only time consuming, but it also adds to the costs. Moreover, it also limits tournaments to venues that support a fibr optic network. 

Games at home also rely on a similar type of network. Those who don’t have access to the fiberoptic network have to sign-up for an internet service that offers above 10 Mbps (Megabytes per second) and require an Ethernet connection to achieve top quality speeds with low latency.

5G’s wireless nature could provide unique opportunities to gamers, whether they are casual games playing on their couch or professional ones playing live in front of millions of fans. 5G technology will deliver fixed wireless access to under-served residents with limited or no broadband service providers. 5G for gamers in such areas will unlock the next eSports professionals by delivering gigabit level wireless service to their homes.

5G’s capabilities may enable service providers to offer gaming packages that will support more rigorous online games inside the home. Just imagine connecting multiple devices for multiple users all at once, without causing any lag.

Conclusion & Ending Statement

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The shift to 5G won’t take place overnight, as it requires a lot hardware and software updates on both the service providers’ and consumers’ sides. It may be years before we see the full 5G roll out to consumers on a global stage. However, there’s no denying that the technology is well underway, and in some areas and aspects it’s already here.

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While we await mobile connectivity for phones and the likes, some providers have launched 5G connectivity in fixed broadband form in certain areas, enabling WiFi access for several devices, including gaming consoles. This is enough to experience the capabilities of the technology, and understand its lag-free improvements on the gaming and eSports industry. Thus, while a full roll-out is yet to come, mobile advertisers, game developers, and service providers must start building a foundation now, for the next big shift in the gaming and eSports industry.

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