NEW TECHNOLOGIES Will Reboot the Landscape in 2020
eSports took off first in Korea, where “PC Bangs” had superfast internet, allowing gamers to play against each other rather than against the computer. Couples went on dates to the net cafes more than they went to the movies. The social aspect drove popularity.
Virtual reality sports games are easier to imagine than they are to code—challenges such as the headgear tether cable restrict movement, and the causes of motion sickness need to be solved. We are likely still a couple years away from a VR sports game that becomes the killer app that triggers everyone to put down their phone and put on immersive headsets.
Smartphones, by next year, will have infrared sensors that can sense depth—turning every phone into a Microsoft Kinect. Google’s Project Tango is using this technology to create a virtual map of every room, down to the location of every piece of furniture. The sensors can also track human movement with great accuracy. Before 5G arrives, many games will throw away the thumb controls and have gamers act out motions physically, bringing back something akin to the Wii explosion.
Today, smartphone connectivity is on the cusp—you can play against others, but it’s really only a successful experience for minigames. Full sports simulations will explode on the smartphone with 5G connectivity—which is 30x to 100x the speed of 4G. However, trials of 5G have just begun, and 5G phones aren’t expected to be on sale until 2020.
These three factors converge on a 2020 timeline, amounting to a perfect storm that could radically alter which companies survive and which games are played—and ultimately which sports become most popular globally.