The gaming industry has been seeing rapid growth in the past few years. 5G technology will transform game streaming, mobile games, and cloud gaming. It will act as a gateway to a brand-new era of gaming. Cloud gaming is one of the pieces of the puzzle that will get impacted drastically. When we talk about Cloud gaming, we are essentially talking about playing games solely relying on a stable internet connection. As we set foot into a new era of connectivity, BW Businessworld conversed with Vodafone Idea at the India Mobile Congress 2022 about the future of 5G and its impact on cloud gaming and virtual reality.
Does cloud gaming have a future in India?
“All right, so, a lot of users are not going engage in playing games because they have certain limitations that hold them back. They have concerns like memory and hardware. They are apprehensive about going and buying new things as well. However, once you eliminate that, things become easier. Today, we have a population of 1.3 billion; out of that, only 400 million are gamers. So, there is a wider audience that we can touch base with if we can eliminate the requirement of hardware which is exactly what cloud gaming does. Now that 5G is about to be rolled out, it will provide a boost to cloud gaming,” said Alwyn D’Almeida, General Manager – Games, Vodafone Idea.
Gaming as an activity is not new. It has been there in the country since the 1990s. The key concern here is 5G Infrastructure. Will telecom companies be able to do justice to the hype they have created for 5G?
“See, consumption of data is also not new. It was there for 2G, 2.5G, 3G and 4G. The only difference is that data consumption has exploded. Data is now faster, easier to access and easier for people to consume,” commented Alwyn D’Almeida, General Manager – Games, Vodafone Idea.
Regarding 5G infrastructure, Prithwish Mukherjee, Vice President, Consumer Marketing, Vodafone Idea commented “Infrastructure will grow. Even when 4G was launched, In the first two years adoption rate was 9 per cent. Now, if you see almost 68 per cent of the devices in India use 4G. So, the ecosystem will evolve. It will take time, it will take time and as the ecosystem evolves, the infrastructure will also become more robust.”
“It will evolve over a period of time. I also think cloud gaming is here to stay. From an experiential point of view, the experience doesn’t depend on the handset anymore. I think what we were discussing today and what Akshaya (Moondra) was mentioning that next couple of years gaming definitely is one of the largest sectors to explode,” added Mukherjee.
Will 5G disrupt console/PC gaming?
“I believe we but I also believe that there is enough coexistence possible, we will have to let the ecosystem evolve. The way I see this is that there is enough room for both. I think a lot of serious gamers will be on PC/console till the time the ecosystem gets full coverage. It is a coverage issue, right? That is, till the time 5G coverage becomes so ubiquitous, that speed, latency and broadband is no longer an issue. So, there is enough coexistence that is possible. I don’t think it would be so much of a problem currently,” said Prithwish Mukherjee, Vice President, Consumer Marketing, Vodafone Idea.
I want to know more about Vodafone Idea’s 360VR experience.
“When the Prime Minister was giving his speech, there was a lot of conversation around Metaverse. We heard a student explain how she could visualize the rings of Saturn while learning about the solar system. That’s really what immersive learning is all about. There are a lot of use cases for virtual reality. Form factors are evolving as well. VR will be used for education content, skill development, content for training your staff and a lot of other things. Be it how you’re painting or how you’re welding, immersive viewing will enhance everything,” said Prithwish Mukherjee, Vice President, Consumer Marketing, Vodafone Idea.
“There are three pillars that need to be mentioned here – content, infrastructure and devices. Content is developing at a rapid pace, infrastructure is something that we will provide and finally, device or the form factor is something we are continuously working upon. What are you seeing here is the tip of the iceberg. In just one year, you’ll see a complete transformation,” Mukherjee added.
He also commented on 5G and virtual reality technology from an experiential point of view. He stated that the entertainment industry would be affected as well. People won’t have to look for the best seat as they’ll already have the best seat in the house.