Real Time Cloud Interactive Gaming Now Possible with 5G: Most Interesting Use Case of All?

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Global gamers like me have been dreaming of the day when competing with a gamer on the other side of the world is possible, without delays, and in high resolution. As games become more immersive, and take advantage of virtual and augmented reality, and gaming consoles and mobile devices become more powerful, the missing link has always been the speed and reliability of the network.

Ribbon Communications (Nasdaq: RBBN), which recently merged with ECI Telecom Group, delivers global communications software and network solutions to service providers, enterprises and critical infrastructure sectors and earlier this week announced that they commissioned SAPIO Research to conduct a study that revealed  that 5G for real time online gaming could bring over $150 billion in new revenue to service providers.

The white paper, which is available for download here https://info.rbbn.com/5G-Perspectives/resources/discloses that “5G can meet these consumer expectations by providing the low latency connectivity needed to deliver fast, reliable and responsive gameplay. If carriers are to make these 5G guarantees to global gamers, however, they must invest in the network infrastructure that will deliver them. Carriers can only seize this global 5G cloud gaming opportunity with standalone 5G networks. and their network slicing capabilities to assure ultra-low latency services.”

Additional revenue opportunities will follow from partnerships and cloud gaming service bundles, helping to accelerate returns on 5G CAPEX investments, SAPIO also claimed. “The longer they wait, the greater the chances of ceding their advantage to competitors.”

The survey was conducted among over 5,000 gamers from the following five countries:

US (1013)            

UK (1003)           

Japan (1001)

South Korea (1000)

Germany (1002)

The survey was focused on ardent gamers who played for at least three hours per day prior to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak (though the impact of the pandemic on gaming time was also captured).

The white paper says the ability to offer a compelling playing experience to the world’s 2.7 billion gamers “requires careful collaboration within a broad ecosystem of companies including game publishers, gaming hardware manufacturers (devices and accessories), IT companies and carriers. “

The study revealed that more than 58% of these enthusiasts already pay a premium to their provider to enjoy the best gaming experience possible, and 60% of ardent gamers are willing to pay at least 50% more than their current home and mobile service  for mobility and a better experience.

Within the mobile market, only 5G services can offer true guaranteed end-to- end quality of service controls.

Almost all gamers are aware that the arrival of 5G brings higher speeds and greater bandwidth. They are excited about the cloud gaming potential of 5G:

  • 79% would consider replacing their home broadband and mobile connectivity with 5G for a better gaming experience
  • 95% would pay more for this improved experience
  • 60% would pay at least 50% more (average paid today is $84 per month which would rise to $126 per month)
  • 58% would switch connectivity provider as soon as they could if a competitor offered a high-quality gaming service with a new 5G subscription

According to Modor Intelligence, the Cloud Gaming Market was valued at USD 1.15 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 2.70 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 15.3% over the forecast period 2020 - 2025.

Google announced a new streaming cloud gaming venture called Stadia last year. It is advertised to be capable of streaming video games up to 4K resolution at 60 frames per second with support for high-dynamic-range, to players via the company's numerous data centers across the globe, provided they are using a sufficiently high-speed internet connection.

According to some reports, retail giant Walmart is exploring its own platform to enter in the now-competitive video game streaming race, but it is unclear how far along the service is in-development.

In response to competition from Amazon, Walmart has integrated its physical stores with its large online presence, offering deliveries, app integrations, and in-store pick up services and has a technology arm in Silicon Valley called Walmart Labs, which has 6,000 employees and develops tech for Walmart's digital presence.

Walmart also has a data center in Caverna, Missouri which holds over 460 trillion bytes of data. Data centers are a centerpiece of Google's Stadia streaming service and companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple also own powerful data facilities, all of whom are also investing in cloud gaming offerings.

As more games become available, and demand grows, the key to success will surely be high-speed – ultra-low-latency – connections and for mobile, the answer is 5G.


Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Special Correspondent

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