Cloud gaming is one of the most exciting innovations.
Gaming on mobile devices is the largest gaming platform from Global Game Revenues. It produced $68.5 billion in revenue in 2019—45% of the total market that also includes PC and Console gaming. Although still a relatively new segment of the industry, Mobile gaming has developed at an astonishing rate, with 2.4 billion people playing games on a mobile device in 2019. The future of gaming is on mobile.
The future of mobile gaming – forecast
The Mobile Gaming market is projected to reach a revised size of US$153.5 Billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 11.5% over the period 2020-2027. Smartphones, one of the segments analyzed in the report, are projected to record a 12.6% CAGR and reach US$139.1 Billion by the end of the analysis period. After an early analysis of the business implications of the Covid pandemic and its induced economic crisis, growth in the Tablet segment is readjusted to a revised 3.8% CAGR for the next 7-year period. With a 5G improvement in throughput and latency over LTE (4G), the online gaming experience is increasing in various ways and leads to new opportunities for new gaming services. Cloud Gaming services need low latency and enough bandwidth to deliver the rendered game scenery. Below are a few things mobile operators need to consider to ensure the best experience for their customers who are gamers.
Throughput and Capacity
The 5G download speed may reach up to 10 Gbps. This is 10x faster than what can be achieved with LTE advanced. The increased speed makes Cloud Gaming services possible even with high frame rates or in VR. 5G also offers additional capacity through multiuser MIMO and small cells. On the other side, the new capacity may become quickly filled with new services.
The highest throughput is achieved in the high band (mmWave). In the mmWave frequency bands, the cell range tends to be limited to hundreds of meters or only within a building. This also allows to increase capacity through more, but smaller, cells. The 5G increased capacity enables Cloud Gaming service for multiple users in one area. Visitors to a sporting event might play a simulation of the upcoming match or race in a venue. Even pure gaming events playing with the other visitors might be possible.
Cloud Gaming is sensitive to latency. The latency between the user device and game server as well as game server to user device adds up to become the user’s reaction time. Every millisecond is important for gamers to win the game. Gamers are therefore very sensitive to any lag. Even when the lag is not noticeable, it may make a difference. In Mobile Gaming rendered on the local player's device, the latency to the game server can be hidden as the local rendering can immediately react to the user’s input. In cloud gaming, this becomes more difficult as the rendering happens in the cloud and the user input first needs to travel to the server, and the rendered video shows the result of the user action back to the device.
Downloads, background traffic, or video chunk delivery for ABR (adaptive bitrate) video services may cause queueing in the network. This happens before the slowest link in the connection which is often in the eNB or gNB. Such queueing adds waiting time to data before it can be delivered over the air. Harmony by Flash Networks is a tool that measures the added waiting time. It is used to initiate automatic bitrate management when queues are building up. Managing the background traffic bitrate keeps the queues small and Cloud Gaming smooth and fast.
ABM of Cloud Gaming Traffic
Cloud Gaming comes with high bitrates. The high bitrates are caused by high frame rates, high resolutions, and high dynamic range. The first helps gamers to follow motions and the latter two to detect details. When the cloud gaming traffic fills the cell capacity, other traffic is delayed, slowed down, or can’t be delivered. Harmony by Flash Networks detects cloud gaming traffic and then, based on detected congestion level, applies bitrate management. This may reduce the gamer's resolution or framerate but frees other users' resources. For example, it prevents video playback stalls or large page load times in browsing.
Downloads, background traffic, or video chunk delivery of other users in the same cell take away resources from cloud gaming services. The Harmony ABM manages bitrates of ABR video services distributing bitrates fair between users without breaking services completely. The automatic bitrate management considers the congestion level and is only done when otherwise there would be an over-commitment. The above solutions are provided by Harmony – a product of Flash Networks. And their activity can be monitored. an integral part of Flash Networks' service is the continuous evaluation and improvement of the services we provide to our customers. With your feedback, Flash Networks will learn what works and what could be better and use this information to improve our services accordingly. We know that without you, our loyal customers, we cannot be exceptional.
Staffed by technical experts and highly experienced customer support, the Flash Networks service group complements our exceptional product offering. Together, our products and services comprise a comprehensive solution, driving data traffic and enhancing the subscriber experience for any wireless environment. We offer a broad range of services to assist you at any point in your infrastructure deployment, or in post-deployment operations.
About Ofer Gottfried
Ofer Gottfried is CTO at Flash Networks. He has more than 20 years of experience in defining and building market-leading products in the Mobile Network industry. He served as General Manager at the US Office of Flash Networks before being appointed Chief Technology Officer. Before that Ofer worked in an Internet security company, telecom companies, and VoIP producers for the telecom market. Today he is the person at Flash Networks who can answer questions in detail of mobile operators who need to improve the quality of experience for their subscribers.