The future of mobile gaming will rely heavily on both edge computing and 5G networking, according to AT&T. As pointed out by the carrier, one of the current problems for mobile gaming stems from the fact that even top-tier devices don't have the performance power or specs of the latest consoles and that's without accounting for PC gaming. Since smartphones are continuing the endless march toward thinner, lighter designs, the solution to that may be in networking rather than the handheld hardware. In the simplest terms, edge computing refers to cloud networking where processing of information has been moved geographically closer to end users. That eliminates some of the limitations caused by data transmission over a distance. For gaming, edge computing with a focus on high-end performance could allow console-level graphics, framerates, and processor cycles on smartphones without improving internal specs substantially. That would also reduce the amount of battery life eaten away by gaming applications.
For AT&T, 5G holds the answer to the issue of network speeds and bandwidth, due to its high transfer rates and significantly improved support for many more devices. Shifting focus to edge and 5G would also benefit console gamers. Players could, in effect, worry much less about buying new and often expensive hardware dedicated to gaming. If future consoles and PCs are built around gaming as a service rather than a physical product, those users could instead just play games. In short, upgrades for systems would become necessary over much longer timescales rather than being required every few years. That, AT&T says, means more time spent actually enjoying video games and more personal resources able to go toward the games themselves.
From a business perspective, AT&T also stands to gain quite a lot from a continued directional shift away from home consoles. Both edge networking and 5G are areas where it has placed a sizeable portion of its recent development efforts. Meanwhile, mobile gaming accounted for around 80-percent of all mobile spending in 2017, according to research from App Annie and IDC. That equates to a nearly $41 billion market that could still arguably expand substantially with the arrival of more of a console-level-like experience on mobile.