95% of gamers willing to pay more for 5G services if it means better playing


60% of gamers would pay 50% more a month for a better gaming experience

With gaming being hailed as a killer use case for 5G, Ribbon Communications commissioned an independent study to explore just how “killer” we’re talking. RCR Wireless News caught up with Ribbon’s new CEO and President Bruce McClelland to discuss some of the study results, which indicate that there is a $150 billion incremental opportunity in cloud gaming for carriers, as well as his outlook and perspective on the telecoms industry as we continue to battle the impacts of COVID-19.

Ribbon’s Chief Marketing Officer and EVP of Business Development Patrick Joggerst commented in a press released that avid gamers present a “highly addressable audience for carriers,” a sentiment echoed in the conversation with McClelland.

“There is a realization about just how passionate [gamers]are around it and anything that improves [the gaming]experience is something they’re willing to pay for,” McClelland said. “If that connection to a gamer was mobile and over a 5G infrastructure, there is a willingness to pay more for the quality of that experience.”

Gamers’ willingness to pay for the improved latency and higher data speeds is precisely what makes cloud gaming powered by 5G such a promising and lucrative opportunity for operators.

In fact, according to Ribbon’s study, 58% of gamers already pay a premium to their provider to enjoy the best gaming experience possible and a staggering 95% would pay more for this improved experience.

On average, gamers spend about $84 a month on their current gaming experience, but 60% of respondents are willing to pay 50% more for a better experience.

As Joggerst pointed out, gamers are very engaged connectivity customers in the sense that they are aware of the connectivity speeds they’re clocking, and they know how to check up on them and even how to improve upon them. And of course, switching providers or technologies is the best way to do improve those speeds.

In this vein, the study indicates that 79% of gamers would consider replacing their home broadband and mobile connectivity with 5G for a better gaming experience, and 58% would switch connectivity provider as soon as they could if a competitor offered a high-quality gaming service with a new 5G subscription.

“Carriers that invest in and build standalone 5G networks will be the first to offer advanced connectivity and will find themselves well-position to form new partnerships with gaming content providers and dominate the 5G cloud gaming sector accordingly,” Joggerst said.

McClelland explained the vision behind the study, saying, “The $150 billion opportunity is an aspirational number that said, ‘look there’s a real business opportunity here.’”

Leaving the games behind, the conversation with McClelland turned more serious as it centered around the challenges still facing the telecoms industry in the face of COVID-19.

While McClelland acknowledged that the value of the network and advanced communication services has really come to the forefront during this crisis, he also explained that the broader industry is worried about the increased unemployment rate.

“What effect is that going to have on so many different types of industries,” he asked, “and what on consumers’ ability to pay for these advanced communication services and all those types of things.”

He also explained that the new ways in which we’ve come to rely on connectivity and communication services probably aren’t going to go away once this is all over.

“I don’t think the world goes back completely to the way we were working and communicating previously. In some ways, we’ve accelerated the adoption of these technologies by multiple years,” he said.

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