Here's how 5G will enable game streaming

Games are power and performance hungry and therefore demand a lot of any smartphone. However, there's a coming revolution in how we play: game streaming (or, Cloud-native gaming). This means the game runs on a remote (Cloud) server instead of on the device itself. You send the server your controller inputs, it processes the action and renders the scene then sends the result - a compressed display stream - back to your device. This has several advantages such as no limits to the image quality – you could be playing with graphics only seen on high-end PCs or in movies, yet your phone remains cool and the battery lasts much longer. The service-based design means the device cost can be much lower, allowing games to be more accessible to a wider audience.


If you're a multi-platform gamer, then having the Netflix-like ability to pause the game on a Smart TV and then continue playing on your smartphone after you leave the house is a definite winner. As long as it has the ability to connect to the internet, decode video and Bluetooth to connect to a controller, you could pick up your saved game to continue the action on as many devices as you watch YouTube on today: in car, at home, out and about, taking a flight – just about anywhere!

Nvidia and Sony already offer their respective Nvidia GeForce Now and PlayStation Now game streaming services on a few platforms, but recent new commitments from Microsoft (Project xCloud), EA (Project Atlas) and Google (Project Stream) should begin to entice more gamers into signing up in the future.

One of the current limitations around game streaming services is that the games feel unresponsive because the round-trip latency between player-server-player is too long. The reason why these gaming brands and publishers are confidently preparing new services is that this latency problem is about to disappear as one area 5G technology focuses on is low latency connectivity, called URLLC. The expectation is that 5G URLLC will create an inflection point and enable real-time game play as if it was all processed on the device itself.

And because 5G is not only for smartphones a wide variety of devices will benefit; in the UK, cellular service provider, Three, has already proposed that it will replace landline-based home broadband with 5G routers thanks to faster speeds, lower latency and even more reliable connections. Therefore this will enable any smart home device such as SmartTV's or set-top boxes in the same way as your future 5G smartphone.

Where does MediaTek feature in all of this? We're is in best position to help companies step up to the challenge of game streaming services. 'Media' expertise has been central to MediaTek since our inception over 20 years ago; our efficient and effective video encoding/decoding IP could be advantageous to the user experience of Cloud-native gaming, and as a central contributor to the 5G specification we're silicon-ready to enable 5G devices. MediaTek also one of the only semiconductor companies globally with wide market penetration across smartphones, smart homes, in-vehicle infotainment and at the other end of the streaming equation it also offers new connectivity ASICs for Enterprise and Data Center. In short, gaming with MediaTek is already great today and we're ready to power the gaming services of the future!

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