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When a major game drops in the UK, its broadband and mobile networks feel the strain, and this pressure is likely to persist, according to research from software and services provider Amdocs.
The New gamer report, based on a Dynata survey of 1,000 UK consumers who reported gaming at least one time per week, has revealed that UK gamers are ready for a “post-console” future, enabled by 5G connectivity, cloud and the metaverse.
Fundamentally, the study found that consumers are largely ready for a “post-console” future that pairs cloud gaming with 5G connectivity – and they are willing to pay more for it. Another key finding was that consumers were prepared to pay for the benefits of cloud gaming if bundled with a dedicated 5G connection with a better ability to stream and secure enhanced quality of content.
As many as 85% would consider bypassing the purchase of new gaming hardware in favour of the cloud, and 81% would pay at least £7.60 ($10) per month for additional cloud gaming services if they could ensure a bundled, dedicated 5G connection. In fact, cost (29%) is only the second-most important factor gamers consider when choosing a cloud gaming service, with the quality of the content (44%) taking the top spot.
Gamers were found to have high hopes for the future of cloud gaming, with 79% feeling positive about it and almost half (43%) predicting it will completely change the industry.
While almost three-quarters (72%) of UK gamers already use or plan to use cloud gaming services in 2022, they said they were excited about the enhancements 5G connectivity will bring. They are most looking forward to gaining the ability to stream games from any device and location (51%); more unique, interactive augmented reality experiences (41%); and metaverse-based interactive experiences (28%).
On the metaverse, the majority of UK gamers feel positive about its promise – only 18% believe it won’t become popular – but there are barriers to its widespread adoption. Some 37% think it is too early in its infancy; 36% are concerned about the cost of hardware; and 24% are unsure their internet connection can handle it.
Amdocs’ findings suggest that while 5G holds the potential to enhance the capabilities of cloud gaming and enable more fulfilling consumer experiences with new technologies such as the metaverse, there was still work to be done when it comes to awareness. Even among those who game regularly, 22% aren’t sure whether they have 5G access.
“These findings uncover several essential factors, first and foremost the need for networks to be future-ready for in-demand, intensive and seamless experiences – such as evolutions of the metaverse and the supercharging of low-latency cloud gaming,” said Anthony Goonetilleke, group president of technology and head of strategy at Amdocs.
“As these experiences become more ingrained in our culture and we begin to explore the potential of a Web 3.0 world, entertainment partnerships and new, flexible monetisation approaches that enable a la carte experiences – coupled with connectivity – will become increasingly critical,” he said.