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5G: The Next Disrupter for Gaming and Mobile Network Operators

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5G: The Next Disrupter for Gaming and Mobile Network Operators

Samsung is in the Game

  • Derek Johnston

    Head of 5G Business Development
    and Marketing,
    Samsung Electronics Americas


The gaming industry is ripe for disruption as we approach the wide-scale rollout of 5G. With faster speeds, lower latency, and increased capacity and reliability, 5G is bringing several benefits to the gaming industry. As the world goes through these unprecedented times, many analyst firms are reporting an uptick in gaming. The NPD Group reports that consumer spending on video games in the U.S. reached a second quarter record of $11.6 billion, an increase of 30% when compared to the same time period last year, and a 7% increase over the first quarter of 2020.1  This disruption marks a massive opportunity for everyone from gamers, to creators, to distributors, and MNOs/ISPs.2

How 5G Changes the Game for Online Gamers

Contrary to popular belief, most gamers are social.3  Sixty-three percent of gamers play with other fellow gamers.4  In fact, massively multiplayer online games make up the most popular gaming genre in the world, but most gamers, and especially multiplayer gamers, must deal with the issue of lag.5

Enter 5G, the new wireless technology that will offer these key benefits:

  • Ultra-Low Latency
  • Increased Capacity for Enhanced Multi-Player Experiences
  • Streaming Cloud-Based Gaming

5G marks the end of lag or jitter that can lead to dropped frames or being kicked out of the game. Despite the focus on faster speeds, the true game-changer for video games is reduced latency.6  Whether you’re a gamer on-the-go or on the couch, 5G will bring massive improvements to the gaming experience like essentially nonexistent latency at sub 10 milliseconds(ms) compared to 4G’s 20-30ms and Wi-Fi’s 20-40ms in optimal conditions.7 8

Moreover, by utilizing 5G end-to-end network slicing, operators can create a low latency-focused slice to offer enhanced gaming experience, while a separate high bandwidth slice can be created for video streamers within the same mobile network.

Increased access and capacity is more relevant than ever during the lock-down, which has forced most of us to hunker down in our homes. The stay-at-home orders have been a boon for online gaming given the limitations to in-person activities. According to a recent report, there has been an increase of 32 million people playing video games as well as an increase in playing time for existing players, now that they are spending more time at home.9

As a result, many networks have been overloaded with congestion. This problem isn’t limited to the current circumstances as it’s also familiar to mobile online gamers in crowded cities, where it’s possible to have a great cellular connection, yet sluggish internet.10  5G can help solve the problem by providing significantly higher capacity levels than that of 4G.

The improved latency and data capacity levels of 5G are also enabling a new gaming trend: cloud-based gaming. Expected to be the next disruption in the gaming industry, many major players have already entered the cloud-based streaming services market for gaming. Undoubtedly, many hope to claim a chunk of the projected $3.2 billion (2023) cloud gaming market over the next few years.11

New Opportunities for Service Providers?

Just like how mobile gaming has evolved beyond the dedicated gaming consoles, cloud-based streaming services for gaming won’t be limited to PC-based or console-based video game companies. In fact, some of the leading operators have already entered this space with 5G offerings specific for mobile gaming.

5G-based mobile or cloud-based gaming offerings are attractive for service providers, from new service offerings with enhanced performance and revenue opportunities to providing an acquisition or retention tool for valuable gaming subscribers.

Samsung is in the Game

Samsung Networks has stayed closely connected to this new gaming trend in order to provide the best-in-class technology to its customers. With its 5G SA Core and RAN, operators can offer a network that supports the high-definition graphics and split second interactive capability that users expect. Additionally, Samsung’s cloud-native 5G SA Core architecture offers a user plane function that is compact, easy to scale and can be located in a data center that is close to the user. By offering this architecture, the network becomes more efficient and flexible. For example, if there is a surge in traffic, the additional user plane capacity can be scaled dynamically and automatically when and where it is needed.

Combine Samsung’s network innovations with the recent launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note20 series, gamers can up-level their experience. With a large and immersive, 120Hz display, AI game booster, Bluetooth audio response optimization, and 240Hz touch latency on the Galaxy Note20 Ultra, users have a pro-gaming setup that fits in their pocket.

It’s an interesting time to be involved in the gaming market, as 5G becomes widely available. As technology changes and the landscape continues to evolve, Samsung is ready to usher in the next generation of gaming to its customers, with our network provider and technology partners.