Cloud gaming remains hindered by its dependence on reliable, fast connectivity
Last week, Qualcomm Wireless Communications Technologies (China) Limited, a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, announced its cooperation with Tencent Games, China’s largest gaming company, to develop high-quality games that can be experienced by consumers across a variety of Qualcomm’s 5G-enabled platforms and devices. The collaboration will also result in a 5G version of a Tencent-backed gaming phone.
Frank Meng, chairman of Qualcomm China, commented in a press release that mobile and cloud gaming is an important 5G use case, with the technology providing “faster speeds, more bandwidth and cutting edge ultra-low latency [that] will support real-time, multi-player and immersive gaming experiences.”
Tencent is developing a cloud-based back-end service called Instant Play that game developers could use to power streaming games, and the faster connection speeds promised by 5G devices would allow for bigger, more complex games to be played without the typical challenges associated with online gameplay.
Many games already require an internet connection, but cloud gaming puts entire games online. The player’s local hardware merely translates the player’s input into action and renders on-screen images as a response. Cloud gaming, however, relies on one critical thing: a smooth and fast internet connection.
Latency, low-band width and other limitations already make playing a game on a local device challenging and sometimes downright glitchy, so it is no surprise that the concept of streaming games as one might stream TV shows or movies has been held back by certain technological, as well as economic, constraints.
Cloud gaming is nearly positioned to achieve its true potential, and the gaming industry is booming, but it remains hindered by its dependence on reliable, fast connectivity. What appears to be an Achilles heel for game service providers might have the potential to be a cash cow for telecom operators in the form of 5G.
5G can deliver the low latency and high-speed connectivity required for cloud gaming, and also meet data demands from gaming platform subscribers. Further, 5G offers network slicing, which allows operators to provide portions of their networks for specific customer use cases with each use case receiving a unique set of optimized resources and network topology. It is easy to see how this feature might enhance a player’s gaming experience.
We can expect to see more collaborations like the one between Qualcomm and Tencent in the future. As 5G continues to gain presence and gamers continue to seek out streaming options, operators and gaming platform developers are beginning to understand that in order to be successful in this emerging space, they are going to have to team up and play nice.