Now more than a buzzword, 5G will revolutionize mobile networks. This article covers 5G, discussing how it may impact gaming.
- What is 5G?
- How will it make gaming better?
- What will this make possible?
- How will 5G impact data plans?
- When will it be here?
What is 5G?
Not to be confused with 5Ghz wifi, 5G cellular networks will open up entirely new possibilities that weren’t feasible on slower networks.
5G is the next step up in cellular network technology (there was 3G, then 4G LTE, and now 5G). 5G mobile internet is rumored to be 10 times faster than LTE, 5G increases wireless broadband speeds for smartphones and other devices, thus improving data transfer on cellular and mobile networks.
Although dramatically impactful in many disciplines (medicine: surgery performed remotely, automobiles: self driving cars, IOT: smart cities), 5G will also enable and improve many aspects of gaming.
How will 5G impact gaming?
5G will make gaming – specifically mobile gaming – better. This will include:
1. Immediate responsiveness:
This means lower latency. Latency is the time it takes to transmit data from your device to the network and back again. This increases the speed with which a command is registered on your screen. For gaming, a lower latency means that gamers will more quickly be able to make decisions.
2. Better mobile graphics:
The ability to transmit and receive larger amounts of data will allow mobile frame rate to increase (as of January 2020, Fortnite on console can handle up to 60 FPS whereas Fortnite on PC and iPad up to 120 FPS, for example). With a higher frame rate, graphics will be more crisp and player movements will be sharper and easier to calculate.
3. Faster downloads:
5G will notably increase the download speed for games and other apps to your phone. Today, downloading mobile games (many of which are well over 1GB) requires gamers to connect to wifi and plug in their phone to prevent battery drainage. 5G will allow games of this size to be downloaded no problem. Data plans will likely be larger, so people will be more apt to download these games on the go. This will lower the barrier to entry to play all types of video games, increasing its popularity broadly, from mobile and casual gaming to esports as well.
4. Better reliability
Because 5G will provide extremely stable connections, gamers will not experience game and internet connections to drop off or remain unsteady. As more people have stable and reliable internet connections, mass multiplayer online mobile games will continue to grow, expanding the social aspects of many games such as Fortnite, while providing space for the birth of mobile-first multiplayer online games.
5. The end of lagging?
Lagging gets worse when a game’s network reaches peak player volume. Since 5G can handle a higher network throughput than 4G, game servers will manage peak hour data usage more efficiently. Since 5G will reportedly make games 1000 times faster, gamers can expect little to no lagging and more consistent high quality gameplay.
However, game companies will inevitably develop more complex and graphic intensive games. Especially with the continued growth of virtual reality gaming, the processing power required to run video games can be expected to increase.
While 5G will allow game developers to to do more with future video games, we can expect game developers to to continue to push the envelope of technology, eventually reaching the limits of 5G.
What will 5G make possible?
1. Cloud Gaming
Cloud gaming should allow you to play high end, graphics intensive online multiplayer games on your mobile device with low (if any) latency and extremely high quality, resolution, and response time.
You won’t be able to tell that you’re not playing on a mobile device. Look for the following cloud gaming systems to exist soon:
- Playstation Now
- Google Stadia
- Microsoft Xcloud
2. VR Streaming
Virtual reality entertainment has higher bandwidth requirements for a couple reasons:
- two images need to be streamed for VR, one to the left eye and one to the right eye.
- both of these need to be high-resolution to deliver high-quality experiences.
- low frame rate is one of the chief reasons that some VR players get headaches or have poor quality experiences in VR gaming.
The ability for 5G to handle the higher data receipt and transmission will make VR streaming of movies and games much smoother.
3. Future of mobile devices
5G will enable a new breed of handheld gaming consoles – 5G shells that transmit and receive high quality graphics via cloud computing. With the power of 5G, processing power local to device is not practical.
In the future, the purposes served by multiple devices (X-Box, PC, mobile, etc.) may combine into one one device optimized for transmitting and receiving data via the cloud.
With this data being processed non-locally, there is no need to purchase physical copies of games and other software, since they can be easily procured via the internet.
How will 5G affect data plans?
For consumers, it is hard to know if 5G will mean higher prices or not. Given that 5G is an enabler of extremely high download capacity, unlimited data plans will likely be required to take advantage of 5G.
The good news is that some companies such as TMobile have pledged to keep prices the same as 4g.
Data caps may still be a factor as they are today, but ultimately 5G will make the ability to transmit and receive data more abundant.
When will 5G be here?
5G is already here, its just not widely distributed yet. Some cellular plans such as T-Mobile and AT&T already have 5G out. We recommend contacting your provider directly to inquire more about 5G and what it would take to get access.