In little more than three decades, gaming has come a long way, from the days when cartridges came loaded with 8-bit pixel art games that included classics like Super Mario and Contra. The evolution started with high-quality computer games, then quickly moved to high-end consoles, like Playstation and Xbox, and has now been accelerated by smartphones, unlocking a whole new gaming arena.
In the current era of streaming online games, a strong digital infrastructure, which includes super-quick connectivity, is essential for gamers. At 400 million, India has the world’s second-largest tribe of online gaming enthusiasts. And while they drive the demand for high-tech consoles and laptops, all that is about to change with the introduction of 5G, as was recently demonstrated by telecom giant – Bharti Airtel.I
n a first-of-its-kind event, Airtel successfully hosted a Cloud Gaming demo on a live 5G network, in association with gaming platform – Blacknut. And from the results, it is clear that the country’s gamers are on the brink of a new era in the gaming landscape.
So, how did Airtel 5G perform?
To unveil the potential of cloud gaming, Airtel brought in India’s top virtual duelists Salman Ahmed, aka Mamba, and Naman Mathur, popularly known as Mortal. With their smartphones connected to a 3500 MHz high capacity spectrum band, the two gamers enjoyed speeds of up to 1.5 Gbps and latency of 10 milliseconds on Airtel’s 5G network. And the duo described cloud gaming on Airtel 5G as a “high-end PC and console gaming experience on a smartphone.”
Cloud gaming will allow netizens across India to enter the digital battleground without having to buy additional hardware or downloading a game. With a 5G network, gamers will only need their smartphones to enjoy smooth gameplay and breathtaking graphics that have been available on consoles or tech-heavy PCs until now. The future of gaming with 5G
Having experienced Airtel 5G live, Mortal and Mamba also pointed out that the initiative could boost development and publishing games from India, which could create new opportunities for players from small towns to access mainstream gaming opportunities.
As of 2020, smartphone penetration had already touched 56% coverage in India, and it is estimated that almost 100% of the country’s population will have such devices by 2040. This growth, along with a large user base of telcos, like Airtel, will allow 5G to reach more people in less time, paving the way for cloud gaming.
The popularity of online games like Pokemon Go, Fortnite, GTA, and others leaves no doubt that avid gamers and those looking for digital recreation will quickly embrace the remote gaming revolution. High-speed 5G internet will facilitate access on the go, and will create an immersive experience for players who will be introduced to visuals and sounds available via consoles without having to shell out loads of cash to buy them.
To set the tone for this pioneering trial, Airtel hosted an event showcasing the use of 5G services on a 4G network earlier this year in Hyderabad, which showcased the brand’s capabilities in a connected world. India’s large-scale digital migration towards e-commerce, online education, remote working and online gaming during the new normal has provided the right opportunity for rolling out such innovative services.
Previously, the telecom brand also partnered with other top players in the tech arena – Nokia and Ericsson – to conduct 5G trials across several Indian cities. It is also building 5G solutions as part of the O-RAN Alliance initiative and has partnered with Intel, Tata Group, Qualcomm, Altiostar and Mavenir for the same.