Forecasts show that the value of the U.K.’s mobile gaming industry will reach nearly $2 billion by 2023
Vodafone and Microsoft have entered a technical partnership focused on optimizing mobile gaming technology in the U.K. As part of the arrangement, Vodafone customers will have the opportunity to be amongst the first to preview Project xCloud, Microsoft’s new game-streaming technology, over the operator’s 5G and 4G networks.
At $70.3 billion, the mobile gaming industry accounts for more than half of all global gaming revenue in 2018, and with 5G promising to deliver the low latency and high-speed connectivity required for better mobile cloud gaming experiences, while also making it possible for carriers to meet the growing data demands from gaming platform subscribers, the mobile gaming industry is on the brink of an explosion.
Project xCloud is Microsoft’s attempt at getting in on this action and will allow gamers to instantly stream console and PC games to any device using either an internet connection when indoors, or a cellular service when on the go. The games are streamed directly from Microsoft’s servers, which make use of the Azure Cloud architecture, and with 54 different Azure regions around the globe, Microsoft promises to offer players stable service regardless of location.
While 5G is the technology expected to bring the mobile gaming industry up to speed, Vodafone and Microsoft stated that the partnership will develop a better understanding of how both 5G and 4G networks can best support gamers, suggesting that Project xCloud will be marketed to 4G users as well, a wise decision, as research indicates that 4G services are continuing to grow even as 5G rollouts accelerate.
The trials will begin in October 2019 and will be available to Vodafone’s U.K. customers. According to the BBC News, the overall U.K. gaming market has seen record growth, and is now valued at more than $7 billion, and London-based research firm Mintel forecasts that the value of the U.K.’s mobile gaming market, specifically, will reach nearly $2 billion by 2023, making the U.K. a viable market for Microsoft to test its platform.
While Vodafone can claim to be the first network in the U.K. to work with Microsoft to improve Project xCloud’s performance on its network, Microsoft has been working with South Korean operator SK Telecom since early September when the pair partnered up to deliver the streaming service to South Korea over the mobile operator’s 5G network.
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