Joona ”natu” Leppänen takes a determined position in his chair and checks computer settings. After a while, Natu will be the first professional gamer who has been able to show off his skills in a 5G network.
Across the table sits Niklas Segercrantz, who works with esports at Telia. The team logs into the game server of a popular shooter video game Overwatch and prepares to engage in a battle.
The gaming station is set up in Espoo, Nokia’s 5G Innovation laboratory. State-of-the-art equipment from ASUS has been set up for the historical moment. The two men put headphones on and Natu’s fingers start to move across the keyboard, which is set askew on the table.
At the speed of thought and a surgeon’s precision
Professional gaming requires a certain kind of technique. A computer, a screen, a keyboard and a mouse must serve the gamer at the speed of thought and accuracy of a surgeon. The same applies to the gamer’s network connection. The 5G network passed the test with flying colors.
"I was truly positively surprised at how fluently everything functioned. After all, we already have high-speed connections, but 5G also seems to function extremely smoothly. In the future, I could see myself playing through a mobile connection”, the experienced gamer Natu says.
The battle comes to a halt if there are issues with the connection
A gamer’s network connection must be sufficiently fast, but the most important thing is the delay – how quickly the system responds when a gamer presses a button or clicks on the mouse. If a connection is too slow or the delay is uneven, it means that other gamers are one step ahead, and a step in a shooter video game is the difference between life and death.
"Today, we played Overwatch over a 5G connection, and I did not notice any difference between it and a fixed line connection. Its latency did not skip, and it felt like a fixed connection”, Natu estimates.
Esports to adopt mobile technology
Finnish gamers usually log into game servers that are located in Central Europe. The geographical distance creates a certain basic delay in connections but the gamer’s own network connection is also significant. High-speed fiber access is the most reliable technology. Usually, a mobile connection has not been considered reliable enough for professional gaming even though the data transmission rates of the 4G network have grown considerably.
In addition to gaming, it is becoming more popular to stream gaming sessions to online channels focused on eSports. During the 5G test, bit flow was sent alongside gaming to Twitch Tv. A solid flow of bits run smoothly to the service. "When major tournaments are streamed in the future using virtual reality, a stable and reliable connection will be needed for that as well so that next level quality entertainment can be brought to viewers", Natu points out.
Joona "natu" Leppänen is one of the first professional Counter-Strike gamers in Finland. During his career that lasted for more than 15 years, he participated in several major tournaments around the world. Currently, Joona works at ENCE’s marketing, among other things.