Published on March 2nd, 2017 | by gareth0
How 5G Technology Will Change the Video Game Industry
Increasingly, games are being played online, with players competing against other players from around the world. In fact, such is the popularity of online game play that some notable recent titles, like Star Wars: Battlefront (available on PC, PS4, and Xbox), have launched without a dedicated offline, single-player mode. But this new approach to gameplay has some downsides. Though players with access to a Wi-Fi network generally experience minimal trouble, individuals who are playing from a phone or tablet might find that their connection is a limiting factor to their fun. That’s set to change with the arrival of 5G technology. Here are some developments we can expect to see in the very near future.
High-quality Graphics on Mobile is Here to Stay
High-quality graphics are typically associated with consoles and personal computers, as they have dedicated graphics cards and powerful processors. However, that’s slowly changing as smartphones and tablets become more and more capable. Many of today’s mobile titles feature graphics that are comparable to console titles, and as mobile processors continue to improve, so will the graphics.
We are quickly reaching a point where the processor will no longer be the limiting factor for mobile video games – instead, the connection will be. When it comes to online games, bandwidth is a major factor in performance; with 5G technology improving throughput and decreasing latency by up to 10 times over a 4G network, bandwidth limitations should no longer be a factor.
Streaming Glitches to Become a Thing of the Past
In addition to improving throughput and decreasing latency, 5G technology is also up to 100 times more efficient than current networks, with 100 times more traffic capacity. This means that buffering and streaming glitches are set to become a thing of the past. Greater capacity and greater efficiency means more uptime, faster connection speeds, and improved overall connectivity, for a more enjoyable and reliable user experience.
Anyone 30 or older can remember a time when it took many minutes to view a single image on the Internet. You would wait and wait as the image slowly formed from the top, down. That is no longer an issue, with most images now populating instantaneously. Mobile connectivity is about to experience a similar leap in performance. You will one day have to explain what “buffering” is to your children, as they will never have experienced it themselves!
Will Sales in Physical Gaming Devices Drop?
Obviously smartphones and tablets are physical devices, but they aren’t dedicated gaming devices. Will consoles start to experience a decline in sales as mobile, online titles become more and more robust in content, gameplay, and graphics? The Nintendo Wii U was a bit of a failure when it launched in 2012, but the Xbox and Sony Playstation continue to sell in large numbers. We’ve been hearing for many years that mobile titles are coming for gaming consoles, but so far, the jury is out on whether or not they’ll truly relegate consoles to the dust bin. Ultimately, the marketplace is large enough to support both: mobile devices for the casual gamer, and consoles and PC for the hardcore gamer.
Download Sizes May Reach into the Terabytes
There are a number of mobile games currently available with file sizes that reach multiple gigabytes. As silly as this may sound on paper, it isn’t a stretch to think that in the future – with the advent of 5G technology, a continued push for cloud hosting, and much improved mobile processors supporting such titles – file sizes for mobile games could reach several hundred gigabytes, if not a terabyte. Why? Because larger file sizes mean more information, and more information equates to larger, more robust, more graphic intensive games.
Of course, it can’t be said with complete certainty that download sizes will reach a terabyte or more (after all, nobody can predict the future), but all trends point to mobile and desktop games becoming larger and larger. Though you may scoff at the idea of a mobile title taking up a terabyte of space, it wasn’t long ago when a 1TB hard drive was seen as ludicrous overkill. And now you can buy them for $50 or less. And remember, the first iPhone came with just 16GB of storage (with as little as 4GB of storage available) while today’s iPhone 7 offers 256GB of storage, with supplemental cloud storage.