Chester King, British Esports CEO and chair of the Global Esports Federation’s Education, Culture and Wellness Commission, shared his thoughts on the rise of 5G in an interview on Chinese TV station CGTN
Speaking about the potential of VR and AR, Chester said: “It’s all around hardware costs, so at the moment VR and AR are fantastic things to do, but the physical cost of the hardware is still prohibitive to some people. I think once 5G is more accessible globally, the focus will then be on hardware for VR and AR. So I think once those unit prices come down, you may see it growing within gaming.”
On esports business models possibly changing on the arrival of 5G, Chester added: “Yeah 100%. I think it will be more of an addition than a big change. I think there will be esports teams that concentrate purely on 5G/mobile games, but also you might be able to broadcast from 5G so the cost of everything is reduced. And the scalability will increase in areas that don’t have good reception or broadcasting capabilities.
“There will be projects with mobile 5G units like trucks that go around to areas that don’t have good reception, and that will help more people play esports and also broadcast events. In my mind, we’re going to be seeing in the UK and places like Africa and India, the deliverability of more esports events because of 5G.”
With connectivity on the rise, how is the industry working to protect data privacy and is the Global Esports Federation getting this conversation started as well?
Chester replied: “Yes. I’m very proud to be a member of the Global Esports Federation. Safeguarding is a number one priority for us as it should be in every country. So there’s software in place, I know in countries in Asia they can restrict under 18 people playing past a certain age, which creates a safer portal for people to play, so under 18s play against under 18s and if you’re a parent or teacher, you know that’s a safer area.
“So it’s one of our core aims we’re trying to achieve at the Global Esports Federation.”
And finally, on growth in esports, Chester commented: “In North America and Europe, we as an industry have been pretty resilient. Growth has been at 30-40% in gaming over the last three months. In Latin America there’s triple-digit growth over the next three years.
“I will say that with 5G handsets at the moment, I think there’s only a few million, but by the end of 2020 there will be a reported billion 5G handsets, so there will be huge game-changing opportunities. So investment will be increased, but the main pockets at the moment are Latin America, North America and Europe.”