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Sunday, 30 May 2021

5G could bring about a new era for esports players and fans

5G is exactly what the esports industry has been waiting for: Esports — where experienced gamers battle before live and online audiences — is set to undergo a massive improvement, with fast 5G networks promising a world of difference in game realism and speed, Yang Jie writes for the Wall Street Journal. The fifth-generation network will allow players to better respond to each other by speeding up data transfer. It could also bring more players from different venues into a single game or competition — and give gamers on all platforms uninterrupted gameplay. Major tech companies, from Intel to Ericsson, have said they see esports as a natural application for 5G.

Virtual reality gaming in particular is in line for a boost: Virtual reality gamers need mobility to play, so are forced to literally carry around their computing power in backpacks. The heavy equipment handles the large amounts of data transfers and ensures gameplay runs smoothly. But this emerging esports niche is set to change with 5G allowing much vaster computing power in a smaller package.

VR esports are a fast growing entertainment industry in China, where the government in Beijing's Haidan district has allocated USD 1.55 mn in subsidies for companies hosting VR and esports events. And big tech companies are getting in on the action: Chinese startup Sky Limit Entertainment obtained USD mns in investment from Intel to co-host a series of VR competitions using 5G in China, Thailand, South Korea, and Singapore.

And cloud mobile gaming is another 5G friendly industry on the rise: Cloud gaming stands to benefit tremendously from 5G, and is set to grow into a USD 6.4 bn industry in 2024, from only USD 640 mn last year, New York-based ABI Research estimates. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to take the largest slice of the cloud-gaming market, accounting for 45%, followed by North America with 26%.

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