20 Jul 2021

Leveling the playing field  

Saad Siddiqui


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By Saad Siddiqui, Telstra Ventures 


Mobile gaming and eSports are a billion-dollar industry, and it’s booming.


Gaming has become more prominent than the movie and music industries combined. 2.7 Billion people got into gaming last year, and the market will surpass $200 Billion in revenue by 2023.


There’s a new generation of gamers worldwide, and they expect nothing short of a flawless gaming experience. Game developers and publishers are fighting to deliver unique, fresh gaming experiences to keep their share of thumbs and eyeballs locked onto their game – but this brings multiple challenges. One of the most considerable is the need for fast, resilient networks and global infrastructure.


The challenge of lag

Lag or latency is the annoying delay between a player’s move and the game’s reaction. It is often reported as the #1 problem faced in multiplayer online games – especially across continents. Developers and executives rank the need to solve lag as one of their top priorities. Every second lost to lag, or jitter can cost game developers millions in lost revenue.


Globally popular games like Fortnite, League of Legends, and Call of Duty look to companies that can provide an  ‘upgraded internet’ and deliver an optimized fast-lane for gamers and reduce that annoying lag. An example in our portfolio is Subspace, which  dramatically improves latency times and local network performance for gaming via a globally deployed infrastructure for hundreds of millions of gamers.


Optimized infrastructure

Game publishers now want to manage their network routing and get greater visibility into global network traffic. That’s where NS1, another portfolio company, is playing an essential role in upping the ante on delivering a consistent gaming experience. NS1 changes the way infrastructure is deployed and then optimized. They help companies that want to build their own capabilities and relationships with network providers to improve game performance.


User engagement 

With 2.7 billion people worldwide into online gaming, game publishers are fighting to get the highest number of players and engagement. There’s a massive opportunity for companies that can provide real-time player insights via a range of digital sources to measure, for example, how people are using games or apps. This data can significantly help with marketing efforts by game publishers. One such company in our portfolio is Singular, which provides a platform that aggregates all audience data into a single dashboard.


The 6G factor 

The global uptake of 5G will push the price of gaming headsets down while also help on-screen resolution to increase, which will contribute to an even better gaming experience.


However, the conversation is already shifting to what ‘6G’ might look like and how it will be delivered. For example, one of our portfolio companies, Cohere, is today working with mobile operators, like Telstra to increase spectral efficiency by mathematically mapping mobile networks – and this technology will be part of the emerging 6G conversation. This approach does to the network what Google did to the internet: make the internet searchable by mapping a mathematical model onto the location of all of the information on the web.


Imagine what this will do for online gaming? 

Gaming leads and the world follows

The gaming industry is one of the most advanced technology sectors. As the world moves to remote work, solving lag issues will affect other applications.


Gamification is a trend to watch. 

The gamification of personal finance apps helps people save money, while the gamification of online fitness experiences helps people lead healthier lives. These trends are also showing up in the enterprise today – i.e. collaboration applications and project management.


Leveling the playing field – globally 

The challenge of creating fast, resilient networks worldwide is not a simple one to overcome. We will see many more companies enter this space to help level the playing field so gamers worldwide can compete on skill rather than how good their connection is.


Keep reading about the critical role of network infrastructure: The Key to Making Games Successful: Your Network Infrastructure.