In our society, we don’t just want things soon, or even today – we want them yesterday. That’s how accustomed we’ve become to top speeds across every aspect of life. Those days of waiting hours for photos to load are long gone, and today, we expect to browse online with top Wi-Fi speeds and 4G across cellular data.
And let’s be frank: The average scroller and browser has no need for such super speeds. But gamers can stand to benefit in a big way. Think of online eSports, casino games and MMORPGs, and how better speeds might improve the user experience. And that’s not all. It could inspire all sorts of innovation in gaming.
Imagine the kinds of inter-connective, multi-player games that could benefit from sharper rates. This quickness of data could take us to new levels, and even help usher in the era of virtual reality and beyond. No one knows exactly when we’ll all be living in the cloud… but 5G can only help. And 6G is expected to spruce up our digital world in 2030. So, which types of gaming will benefit most from these cellular data upgrades?
Did you know that 5G is 20 times faster than 4G at peak speeds? It means you could download ten new games in the time it’d take the former cellular rate to get just halfway through the download of the first. This brings us to VR and AR, which are said to have improved no end during the pandemic. A lot of the technology is already here. It’s just that the data is too large for it to be worth people’s time downloading and streaming. VR headsets will be able to go wireless. AR is also on the rise, and such augmented games will be more accessible with greater speeds.
Improved streaming and computing closer to the end-user in devices and ‘edge’ sites such as cell towers and local mini-datacentres – which will reduce the delay in transmitting data – will later enable advanced 5G and 6G services such as holographic communications and entertainment in the real world towards the end of the decade. However, when 6G comes around the same signals that carry messages will also be able to sense the physical world – letting your holographic game identify your movements in space and let you interact with the hologram in real time as if it was a physical object.
Imagine the scene: You’ve just received the best hand you’ve ever seen. You tell your nerves to quit jangling and prepare your best poker face (which is pointless, given you’re playing online poker). The stakes are raised time and time again, with the other players convinced you’re bluffing. But there it is; that beautiful, sparkling hand. A once in a generation kind of spread.
You’re just about to reveal what you’ve been holding… and the internet cuts. Ok, so that may be about reliability rather than speeds – but, especially with 6G, high levels of built-in reliability are expected to bring consistency too. And as the online poker world gets more complex in its attempts to replicate the ambience of a real poker room, faster data will be necessary. Ericsson’s 6G vision includes access to an Internet of the Senses where players will be able to feel like they are really ‘there’ playing against each other in the same room – touching cards, reading the players’ micro-expressions and hunting for tells.
While only a few states allow real online poker at the time of this writing, legal regulation is spreading. In time, the online poker industry in the U.S. may be thriving the way it did in the 2000s, and 5G and 6G networks will undoubtedly come into play.
The improved reliability and consistency that comes with 5G and 6G will be a huge boost to the mobile gaming community. The biggest winner is the cloud, with gaming platforms thereon able to process at smarter speeds. Mobile games will have come a long way – from a black snake that eats little pixels in the 90s… to 4K behemoths that could rival the graphics of any gaming console.
And now, we venture into the unknown. The fact is, our predictions and projections of the future are hazy at best, and it’s always been that way. Don’t believe us? Watch Back to the Future 2, and see how hover boards and flying cars… didn’t quite happen in real life, did it? New speeds open access to games we couldn’t even fathom. Cloud-based games might interact with real-life (like in the aforementioned AR games), so you can imagine a park filled with people racing drones like in Star Wars.
Watch this space.
Long time reader, first time contributor. Love technology and the great outdoors. Looking forward to discussing everything beyond 5G and the future of wireless technology!