China hopes cloud gaming will spur demand for 5G
Tencent and Huawei’s cloud gaming efforts demand massive speed and bandwidth that 5G is ready to provide
Given that cloud gaming relies on a fast internet connection to bring PC-quality games to smartphones, it’s no surprise that some are eyeing it as the perfect application for 5G.
“Following the arrival of the first wave of 5G, we are seeing one thing with the carriers. As its bandwidth massively expands, they are in desperate need of content to fill in the gap. The first thing they think of is gaming,” Zhihui Li, CTO at Huawei Cloud, said at the recently concluded GameDaily Connect Asia in Shenzhen.
While Google and Microsoft are pushing cloud gaming in the West, leading the way in China is Tencent and Huawei. Neither Chinese company has announced a consumer-facing product like Stadia or Project xCloud yet, but they are working on building out the infrastructure required.
We reached out to both Tencent and Huawei for comment, but have yet to receive a reply.
Cloud gaming will allow them to have those experiences without having to squeeze the game down to run or mobile hardware or require players to buy advanced smartphones. As long as they have 5G, they’re good to go.
“When it comes to mobile gaming, China, while it has a lot of users, is seeing a massive discrepancy in [the conditions in which] players play. We have a lot of users from fourth- and sixth-tier cities who are still using phones from three years,” Li of Huawei Cloud said.
“In the future, the main game distribution channels will reside in the TV boxes provided by carriers,” Li said, “Now seven out of ten people I talk to use TV boxes provided by carriers.”
Cloud gaming could also provide a huge jolt for China’s gaming industry, which has been facing sluggish growth. Tencent says the country’s mobile gaming sector is estimated to grow just 14% next year, down from a high of 101.7% in 2015.
As Google has shown in its attempts to get Stadia off the ground, cloud gaming is hard. But with a willing audience and a strong push from the government, China could be where it succeeds.
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