“Mind-blowing! This was high-end PC and console-quality gaming on a smartphone.” Those were the words of one of India’s most renowned gamers, Salman Ahmad, better known as Mamba. And he was not the only one stunned by the gaming experience he enjoyed on a regular smartphone powered by a 5G test network.
Naman Mathur, better known as Mortal – another big name in India’s gaming scene – was equally impressed. The two agreed that 5G could unlock the online gaming scene in the country and bring many talented gamers from smaller towns into the mainstream limelight.
Both gamers were speaking after participating in India’s first Cloud Gaming demo on a live Airtel 5G test network, a first-of-its-kind event conducted in Manesar, Gurgaon. The event followed another successful live demonstration that the telecom giant conducted earlier this year in Hyderabad, where it tested 5G services over a 4G network.
The proof is in the numbers
For pro gamers to rave about a mobile network, it’s certain that their experience had to be exceptional. And the numbers don’t lie. Both Mamba and Mortal had their smartphones connected to a 3500 MHz high capacity spectrum band, on which they got speeds of over 1 Gbps, with a latency of 10 milliseconds. This was high-end gaming with no compromise on graphics and frame rates. And the best part was that it all happened not on high-end flagship phones but mid-segment devices. Yes, two of India’s best gamers experienced “high-end PC and console-quality gaming” on regular smartphones, with no latency issues or performance cut-backs. That is the power of cloud gaming, as showcased by Airtel 5G.
Cloud gaming takes additional hardware almost entirely out of the equation and makes gaming almost like viewing content on an OTT service (like Netflix or Hotstar) – you open an app, select the game you want to play, and then start playing it.
How 5G will shape the future of cloud gaming
5G connectivity makes cloud gaming more accessible to everyone, no matter where they are. This is because, in cloud gaming, all the gaming actually happens on a remote server (the cloud, as it is referred to). Your phone is wirelessly connected over the Internet to another huge computer, which streams and plays the game, and executes commands as soon as you send them. It is almost like carrying thousands of games in your pocket that you can access anytime without downloading.
Unlike in the present day, where you may need a phone with powerful hardware or have to download heavy game files to stream or play high-end games, cloud gaming allows anyone with a budget 5G phone and a 5G connection to experience quality and seamless gaming on the go. It thus democratises gaming, allowing more people to play more games.
Randeep Sekhon, CTO, Bharti Airtel, said, “Cloud gaming will be one of the biggest use cases of 5G thanks to the combination of high speed and low latency. After delivering India’s first 5G demo over a test network, we are thrilled to conduct this exciting 5G gaming session. Imagine enjoying real-time gaming on the go with someone sitting in another part of the world. This is just the beginning of an exciting digital future that Airtel will enable for its customers as we prepare to roll out 5G in India.”
Gaming as a career in India
By making this kind of gaming easily accessible to everyone, 5G will boost the gaming ecosystem. It will encourage more developers to create and publish creative games without worrying about the user experience on smartphones. With increasing smartphone penetration and a vast youth population, India’s current base of over 400 million online gamers is expected to grow to over 500 million by 2022, with a market potential of $2.4 billion. And better internet connectivity could unlock these opportunities and more.
While gaming is recognised as an actual sport and a viable career option in many other countries, it is yet to catch on in India. More investment and technologies, like Airtel 5G, India will eventually help build a robust gaming ecosystem. And as more players get recognition, more youngsters will pursue a career in gaming.
With 5G set to arrive in the country in the coming months, Airtel is leaving no stone unturned to ensure consumers get the best experience, allowing them to do much more with their devices.
Just a few months ago, the telecom brand partnered with Nokia and Ericsson to conduct 5G trials in multiple cities across India. Some believe that the next big thing in gaming is faster processors. Or better displays. Or more RAM. But it is possible that the shift towards enhanced online gaming lies in superior internet connectivity, more specifically, 5G as Airtel has been showcasing time and again.
If you do not believe us, just ask Mamba and Mortal.
(Disclaimer: 5G Test network is based on trial spectrum allocated by the DoT at approved locations.)