Gaming and in particular online gaming is fast becoming the most lucrative and popular forms of entertainment around the world. According to gamesindustry.biz, the gaming industry in 2018 was worth approximately $134.9bn which was a 10.9% increase over 2017. Last week in San Francisco Google announced the launch of Stadia. So what is Stadia, you ask? According to Google, Stadia will become the Netflix of gaming. Essentially this means that it is a cloud gaming platform. However, and here’s where the interesting 5G opportunity comes in, Stadia will require superfast low latency broadband to deliver this service. The reason for this is that you are engaging with the content in a two way stream and need to rely on no lag or disruption. Stadia have said that they will be able to run 4K streaming with 60 frames per second.
What’s different about Stadia is that it is completely device agnostic, meaning you can run your games off any device, anywhere. Depending on your internet connection of course. They will be leveraging the Chrome browser and Chromecast connected to a TV/screen to deliver this gaming experience. It will also be fully immersive with YouTube and the growing trend of people watching gamers play their favourite games.
When trialling this product, Google allowed people to trial the service as long as they have a minimum 25mbps connection. However, once this gets fully launched, you would imagine to achieve some of the above mentioned performance KPIs, you will need a significantly faster broadband connection. Perhaps this is a great use case for 5G. It ticks all the boxes with higher speeds and lower latency.
Should operators be looking to partner up with Google to help Stadia become a reality? A lot of operators have used Netflix and Spotify as part of their packages by either free rating the data or including the cost of the subscription as part of their package.
But with Sony and Microsoft being the main leaders in console gaming, can Google really launch this service credibly and get the traction it needs for it to work globally. I think what works in Google’s favour is that they have sold over 55 million Chromecasts worldwide, 2.3 billion android smartphones and about 1 billion people use chrome as their browser. So you could say that the end user devices are already in place , and it’ll be the 5G networks that will ultimately make this service work to its potential.