5G, the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications, will soon emerge onto the scene, offering reduced latency, energy savings and cost reduction.
While the technology is still early, Verizon believes that its potential is not limited to simple communication and streaming, but could have a significant impact on the world of gaming and esports.
In a recent blog post, Verizon detailed the rise of mobile-first gaming, emphasizing the shift away from heavy-duty consoles to game streaming.
“Dedicated hardware like consoles and controllers will shrink, or maybe disappear outright. Gamers will play the same game on any device — tablet, smartphone, laptop — with no lapses in quality,” Verizon says. “Eventually, cloud-based subscription models (think Netflix for video games) will overtake the console, a shift that media have described as ‘the last frontier of consumer cloud services.'”
Toward that end, members of Verizon’s 5G Lab in New York City are already experimenting with 5G to improve game streaming. One such example, LiquidSky, a virtualization firm, is already streaming games at more than 100 frames per second with near-zero lag times. The firm also claims a 10x improvement in latency and jitter since connecting to Verizon’s 5G node.
The trend towards mobile gaming looks to be accelerating, as spending is projected to rise more than 25 percent and represent the majority of all games spending this year, totaling about $70 billion in a $138 billion market. Add to that the fact that mobile esports are booming.
Skillz, a mobile multiplayer gaming platform that features online games, is reportedly running around 2 million daily tournaments with $675,000 in payouts to players. Additionally, China’s Nova Esports recently defeated Latin America’s Vivo Keyd 3-1 to win the first-ever Clash Royale League World Finals, concluding the $1 million inaugural season for Supercell’s mobile game.
The movement towards 5G gaming will likely spark more substantial mobile games and new types of esports competitions as the technology matures. Additionally, the console makers have already signaled their interest in cloud-based game streaming, adding weight to Verizon’s prediction that the hardware may soon disappear.