The Reliance AGM 2021 Jio 5G Rollout Could Change Gaming in India Forever

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India’s biggest telco, Reliance Jio is slated to announce its 5G rollout plans at the Reliance Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2021. It’s partnered with Intel to develop 5G services for the country in addition to pioneering a made-in-India solution from scratch. Considering the company took the lead in bringing 4G connectivity to the country at rockbottom pricing, jumping to 5G should come as no surprise. But what does this mean for gaming in India? A lot more than you think.

Faster Internet connectivity could ensure the arrival of cloud gaming services into India as well as homegrown options.

“With the proposed launch of 5G services, cloud gaming has the potential to transform the gaming experience for a mass of users, taking device capabilities out of the picture,” reads a recent KPMG report. “This is especially important for markets like India, with limited capacity to invest in hardware.”

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And with new tech comes experimentation of new business models according Girish Menon, Partner and Head, Media and Entertainment, KPMG.

“I think when it comes to India, it is going to be a largely a subscription-driven model in India,” he tells us.

He believes that cloud gaming could take a route not too dissimilar to how OTTs and telcos work hand in hand to offer not just data to users with their phone plans, but access to content too.

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“Paying only for [data] pipe isn’t what Indians are used to, they want to pay for pipe plus services in one go,” he says. “That offers customers choice. However I would just reserve judgment a little bit since these models are in a trial phase right now, even globally.”

Menon’s comments make sense when you consider that the metrics of success for cloud gaming services are usually pegged to engagement of the user base instead of return investment as we’ve seen with how Microsoft presents its success with Xbox Cloud Gaming and Sony with PS Now.

And it seems that Reliance Jio has been paying attention.

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During the recently concluded Gamescom Asia India Games Market Bootcamp livestream, Ashish Gupta, Asst. Vice President Games Ecosystem at Jio Platforms Ltd, suggested that the company’s cloud gaming rollout would depend on 5G making it in India.

“[W]e’re also coming up with cloud gaming functionality where you can play one single game from smartphone, from the set top box and also same game content that you can continue on PC,” he said at the time. “That is what we’re trying to do after our 5G launch.”

It’s quite likely that Jio’s cloud gaming service release date could pre-date PS Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming. Previously it seemed that Xbox Cloud Gaming would be available in India through a Microsoft and Reliance Jio partnership. Sources familiar with this situation tell IGN India that Microsoft’s cloud gaming service won’t be limited to a single provider, akin to what The Mako Reactor reported last year.

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What this means is, Jio’s cloud gaming service may either be it’s own in-house service or a white-label of another company’s. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long to find out. Perhaps it could be the company’s ‘one more thing’ at its upcoming AGM.


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