At the stroke of midnight this New Year’s Eve, something momentous will quietly take place in Finland, beyond the ringing in of a new year. Amid the parties and clinking glasses of bubbly, most Finns will not notice. But by the end of 2019, many will wonder how they ever got by without it all.
For on Jan. 1, 2019, 5G mobile networks operated by the Finnish telecommunications company Elisa officially come into commercial use for the first time. Yes, at first only a few cities will be served, and most users will not have 5G devices yet anyway, but from New Year’s Day onward, 5G coverage only will grow – in Finland and around the world.
What does that mean, and what does the fifth generation of mobile network infrastructure have to do with gaming?
While most consumers primarily expect ever increasing gains in bandwidth compared to 3G and 4G, the ultra low latencies offered by 5G networks are just as groundbreaking for new online services like Hatch.
At last, the streaming revolution comes to games
Hatch makes cloud gaming viable in part with its unique, non-video based streaming tech that drastically reduces bandwidth requirements and latencies – that’s what makes the experience possible today on good wifi or 4G, where other cloud gaming services fall short. But 5G lets us think bigger. When moving games to the cloud – especially the sort of massive AAA experiences that might be playable only on PCs or dedicated consoles – optimising the data and input streams is only half the battle. The shape and quality of the network itself matters greatly too – and this is where 5G comes in.
The ultra-low latencies inherent in 5G networks finally put mobile devices on the same starting line, latency-wise, as high-quality fixed networks. For mobile gaming, it also means games are no longer limited by the processing power and memory available on the mobile device itself, as these resources are allocated dynamically in clouds and the output delivered instantly over 5G networks. What used to be playable only on a dedicated console at home can now be streamed instantly to the device in your pocket, or to your TV if you prefer – with no need to invest in a costly console or other specialised hardware.
As 5G coverage expands, the latest games on Hatch will be able to offer unprecedented real-time interactivity and performance, freeing games from device-dependent CPU and memory limitations and delivering on cloud gaming’s ultimate promise – to bring great, console-quality experiences instantly to the screens already in your life, anytime and anywhere.