NEW DELHI : Homegrown telecom giant Bharti Airtel has successfully conducted India’s first cloud gaming session in a 5G environment, it said on Thursday.
Cloud gaming will be one of the “biggest use cases of 5G” as it offers a combination of high speed and low latency internet, Bharti Airtel chief technology officer Randeep Sekhon said. When games are streamed over the cloud, the time taken for data to travel from a server to the user’s device, otherwise called latency, needs to be really low. One of the key benefits of 5G technology is the low latency.
In Airtel’s test, the networks delivered latency in the range of 10 milliseconds and bandwidth of 1 Gbps over the 3,500 MHz spectrum. Airtel used its 5G test lab in Manesar in the national capital region area for the cloud gaming pilot, which also suggests that the industry in India is readying itself to take cloud gaming seriously.
Cloud gaming uses computing power from cloud servers to stream resource intensive games to devices that would otherwise not support such games. Globally, the cloud gaming market was valued at $612.31 million in 2020 by Mordor Intelligence. The market research firm expected the industry to touch $5,370.37 million by 2026, driven by entries from technology majors such as Google and Microsoft.
“Future growth will be driven by the internet of things, gaming, smart sports clothing, health gaming, gamification of traditional media, and 5G-led innovations across cloud gaming, cross-platform gaming, and e-commerce gamification, as well as augmented reality and virtual reality (VR) games,” noted a March 2021 report on India’s media and entertainment sector by EY.
Airtel used a game called Asphalt, which doesn’t necessarily need very high computing resources, but the mere fact that the company tested this is significant.
“At a gaming industry level, we’re definitely able to see the future of cloud gaming,” said Rajan Navani, chief executive officer of digital entertainment and technology company JetSynthesys.
“It not only alters the methods in which storage and server movements happen, but also business models tend to change drastically when cloud gaming becomes mainstream. It does not matter which device you are playing on and what the speed is, because you have the cloud and that is where you are playing. The dependency on devices and the cost goes down,” he said.
In India, it means that budding mobile gamers will not have to spend on expensive equipment to access high-end games. “With the proposed launch of 5G services, cloud gaming has the potential to transform the gaming experience for a mass of users, taking device capabilities out of the picture. This is especially important for markets such as India, with limited capacity to invest in hardware,” KPMG noted in its report titled Beyond the tipping point – A primer on casual gaming in India in June.
Online casual gaming in India stood at ₹6,000 crore in FY21 and is projected to grow to ₹16,900 crore by FY25, the report noted. However, Navani warned that 5G is only the basic infrastructure required for gaming over the cloud and at the end of the day research and resources invested in advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and VR, along with positive consumer adoption, is what will bring this to the mainstream.
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