If you’re a gamer, then you’re well aware of how important that internet connection is. So many of the most popular games now focus on online play, and there’s real money to be made in competing in esports. Beyond that, there’s streaming on platforms like Twitch and YouTube which means that even when you’re playing a single-player game, you may well want to be online as you do so.
Not all internet connections are made equal, and some offer features and capabilities that benefit gamers and their particular needs. This is why gamers should be so excited for 5G.
What is 5G?
5G is the new generation of mobile broadband. Just as 3G to 4G was a seismic jump in terms of what mobile devices and portable WiFi was able to do with connectivity (remember trying to watch videos on your mobile phone on a 3G connection?) so too is 5G a big step up from what 4G is capable of. 5G will be capable of speeds as high as 100 times faster than 4G, for example, and for gamers, it’s likely that 5G will become the connection point of choice, over more traditional wired and WiFi connections. The reasons for that extend past the speed.
5G = Low Latency
This is the big one. Gaming online doesn’t actually require a lot of bandwidth; for most games, anything between 0.5 Mbps to 3 Mbps, download and upload, is enough for any online game, and most internet connections in Australia can meet that requirement. What tends to make online games less pleasant to play is the latency or the length of time it takes data to transfer between sources. The higher the latency, the worse the online gaming experience, as precise shots are missed because the Internet connection can’t keep up.
5G will offer the lowest latency of any connection – as little as 1 millisecond, which will help gamers bring their A-game each and every time they play. 5G latency is so small that it’s actually quicker than the time it takes for the brain to register what it sees on screen (that’s about 20 milliseconds). You’ll literally be playing faster than you can think.
5G means immersive VR
VR is an exciting technology, but currently, the technology is primitive and restricted to devices that have cords and big, bulky, uncomfortable headsets. 5G’s ultra-low latency and great speeds mean that headsets can go wireless and data can be streamed to them via the cloud, meaning that VR games can be higher in resolution – especially if paired and played on new technology like the Nvidia Shield TV – and even start to incorporate features like haptic feedback, allowing players to touch what they can see in the game. With these features, VR will finally start to deliver on what it has been promising for a few years now; true immersion without complications.
5G also boosts AR
The other big and exciting technology for gaming is AR – augmented reality. We’ve all seen the first tentative steps in this space – remember the Pokémon mobile game that displayed Pokemon in the “real world” by superimposing them over an image broadcast through the camera? Now imagine AR applications that can actually interact with the world around them – recognize walls, doors, and other features in the environment, and create gameplay applications that are contextual to the world around us. That opens all kinds of exciting new gaming applications. The kind of data requirements for that level of complex AR requires 5G capabilities to run.
Just about every gamer has had this experience: they’re on a stream, have a good community of people watching them play the latest killer game, and they’re up to a key moment when suddenly their stream cuts out. The internet has “died”. As they then hurry to troubleshoot, their audience starts to log off. For aspiring and professional streamers, it can cost them real income and reputation.
5G technology is highly reliable – even more than 4G is. As long as you’re in an area that a 5G broadcast reaches, the technology is capable of maintaining a stable connection with a far lower risk of dropouts than other connection options, meaning in turn more reliable, consistent live streams. It also protects you from connection security threats when using public wifi.
5G is a transformational technology for video games. It will create new experiences, and enhance existing ones. It will help aspiring professional gamers to be at the top of their game and, after many years in which latency has made it hard for Australians to be competitive on the global scene, now we’re going to be able to compete with the best of them. It will also make us more mobile with our games, as 5G is, ultimately a mobile technology, and that too is going to open up unprecedented new experiences. Gamers have every reason to be excited by what 5G promises for their hobby and (increasingly often) their careers.