From home consoles to tablets and smartphones, gaming has become ubiquitous with our connected devices. But as gaming gets ever more complicated, how can the UK ensure it keeps up?
In 2019, the gaming industry was worth an estimated $120.1 billion with titles like Fortnite and an explosion mobile gaming leading the way. In the UK, games accounted for more than half of the entire entertainment market in 2018, with the British games market valued at £5.7 billion.
It continues a long gaming heritage in the UK, with many of the world’s leading gaming franchises coming from British developers, including the wildly successful, Dundee-born Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto series.
Today we’re at a tipping point with gaming dominating culture in ways never imagined previously, to the point of challenging the definition of sports and what constitutes an athlete. Competitive online gaming, dubbed E-sports, is becoming hugely profitable and a growing fixture in households across the UK.
As a result, there are lucrative new career paths for competitive gamers and British teens can make money streaming their playing to an online audience from the comfort of their bedroom. But for many of us, there’s a snag.
What unites videogame companies, emerging E-sports athletes, and streaming talent is the need for fast and reliable internet connectivity, particularly as data hungry cloud-based gaming and online virtual reality come of age. For UK gamers looking to compete with the world’s best, digital connectivity that is fit for purpose is essential.
Yet many having to make do with legacy copper networks, resulting in sluggish internet connections which can wreak havoc on their performance. This is particularly problematic when taking on players from other parts of the world where full fibre is available, as it creates a distinct disadvantage – the UK sits at an unenviable 34th in the worldwide broadband speed table.
While a small difference in connection – known as lag – may seem mundane, when it comes to e-gaming milliseconds can make the difference. And there’s more than just pride at stake – significant sums can be won and lost on tiny amounts of lag.
So, what’s the solution?
Full fibre connectivity, the kind that CityFibre is rolling out across the UK, is revered for its gigabit speeds, near unlimited bandwidth and consistent reliability. These networks, currently available to only around 15% of the country, use fibre optic cables to connect the exchange directly to each premises.
CityFibre’s £4bn Gigabit City investment programme aims to rollout these full fibre networks to at least 8 million premises. Work is already underway in Ipswich to make it one of the best-connected places in the world.
For gamers in Ipswich, this means a dramatic increase in download and upload speeds, a reduction in lag and a gaming experience that won’t suffer when multiple people are online at the same time. Often, the housemate who is working from home, video chatting with family overseas or streaming a movie suffers just as much as the gamer – but with full fibre, everybody wins.
• To find out more about CityFibre and our work in Ipswich and to register your interest in services, visit cityfibre.com/ipswich24.