With EE and Vodafone pioneering the establishment of this new technology in the UK, 5G networks are already available in some metropolitan areas such as London, Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester, and Birmingham. As large ISPs and mobile carriers continue the rollout over the next few years, we’ll see the widespread adoption of 5G in most developed countries.
Without getting too technical, the easiest way to explain 5G is to say that it will provide mobile data transfer speeds that are hundreds or sometimes thousands of times faster than what you would currently get through a 4G or 3G network. So, how will all that extra speed affect the way we play the next generation of games? Here are the top five effects that 5G will have on the gaming industry:
1. More Interactive and Immersive Mobile Games, and Mobile Consoles
Since we already have incredibly fast home and business Wi-Fi through fiber networks, the real benefit that 5G will provide comes from the fact that such speeds will now be available for mobile games as well. As data can be transferred back and forth between your device and the server, it will be possible for servers to host cloud-based games that are too resource-intensive or large for any mobile phone to run natively.
This might also mean that you would no longer need to download a game and install it on your device, as you would simply connect to the game and play the same way you would currently play virtual casino games through an online platform. The remotely located server would be running the game and streaming it in almost real-time to your device, so you wouldn’t be using any storage space or RAM on your phone, tablet, or mobile gaming console.
2. The Elimination of Lag
Anyone who has had to deal with lag during gameplay knows just how frustrating this aspect of multiplayer gaming can be. In fact, it’s enough to make you not want to play the game at all because it gives players with faster connections an insurmountable advantage.
With 5G, the playing field will be levelled to the extent that the outcome of individual games, matches, or battles would be more indicative of the players’ skill level rather than the speed of their internet connections.
3. Syncing User Input and Haptic Feedback
The development of haptic feedback systems and devices – which vibrate or jolt to give you the sensation of touching or bumping into something in a game – is nothing new, with PlayStation controllers having this capability for more than a decade.
However, 5G will make it possible to implement even more advanced haptic feedback features within mobile gaming devices since the lag between your actions and what you see and experience within the game will be almost entirely eliminated.
4. Top Tier Gaming Away from Wi-Fi Networks
With the release of next-gen consoles like the PlayStation 5 set to happen in late 2020, the contrast between current-gen mobile games and next-gen console games will be so great that there will be a very real need for mobile developers to step their game up. The availability of 5G connectivity will keep mobile games relatively entertaining when stacked against the upcoming generation of console games.
Also, the introduction of advanced mobile consoles will make current portable gaming devices like the Nintendo 2DS look like an Atari. In fact, it’s very likely that next-gen mobile games will be as good if not better than current-gen console games.
5. No More Data Caps?
The amount of data that can be transferred through a 5G connection in just a single minute could be enough to exhaust many people’s current mobile data cap on their 3G or 4G plan. As such, mobile carriers will be making a dramatic change to the way data caps are established. Since there are already unlimited 4G plans available, it seems that eventually, 5G systems will be so well-equipped and widespread that data caps could become a non-issue within the next 5-10 years.
Of course, that’s great news for mobile gamers because you’ll be able to play your favourite games throughout the month without having to worry about data caps at all. However, it’s also likely that there will still be cheaper, introductory plans available that do carry some sort of limitation related to bandwidth or access time.
When Will All of This Happen?
Residents of the UK can already access a 5G network through EE, which was the first British mobile carrier to establish this technology back in May of 2019. Vodafone also launched a 5G service in July, and O2 and Three are expected to follow suit over the next year. In the U.S., AT&T Fiber already has more than 14 million locations in the United States, setting a foundation for a nationwide 5G network that will be rolled out over the next two years. Verizon also has active 5G networks in 20 U.S. cities.
In conclusion, developed countries can expect widespread access to 5G within the next 1-3 years.