Hi, this is Toshiaki from Graffity. We are developing an AR shooting game called “AR Battle”. In this post, I’d like to write about how 5G would change the AR Game.
Key benefits with 5G
There are three main features of the emerging 5G: faster internet speed, lower latency, an increased number of simultaneous connections in the same bandwidth.
About the internet speed, 5G is ten times faster than Japan’s LTE service, 4G, which has 325.1 Mbps downstream and 86.4 Mbps upstream. The transmission speed of 5G is maximally 10Gps (10,000Mbps), so compared to LTE, it’s about 30 to 100 times faster. For example, downloading a 3GB movie will take about 1.3 minutes with LTE and only 2 seconds with 5G.
The response time to requests on 4G is in the tens of milliseconds, whereas on 5G, it is in the single digits of milliseconds. General online games need a response time of 30ms or less, and more real-time online games such as FPS, TPS, need faster response times. With 5G, you can enjoy online gaming anywhere with no delay.
Three 5G bands are envisioned for use in Japan: the 3.7 GHz band, the 4.5 GHz band, and the 28 GHz band. Compared to existing radio waves, these bands have longer wavelengths and higher straightness. It means that diffraction becomes more difficult, and the area that can be covered by a single base station is reduced. However, the number of communications that can be handled simultaneously by a single base station will increase.
The penetration of 5G
Due to the limited coverage of a single base station, telecommunication companies need to build numerous base stations. Therefore, 5G services will not spread as soon as 5G services are launched; it will take several years for 5G services to cover all areas.
KDDI Corporation, a telecommunications carrier, plans to roll out a 5G network covering the entire country by the end of fiscal 2023 with 53,626 base stations.
Source: KDDI Corporation “Commencement of 5G Commercial Base Station Installation” (https://news.kddi.com/kddi/corporate/newsrelease/2019/09/30/4035.html)
Why AR is the use case for 5G
People are now focusing on AR technology that works well with the three features of 5G.
There are many ways to utilize AR technology, and one of the examples is AR glasses. AR glasses, including Nreal and Magicleap, would go on sale in 2020, and it is said that this will start an epoch in the AR glasses world. However, the era of each person owning an AR glass is said to be between 2024 and 2025, and companies are finally starting to move toward widespread adoption in the next few years. We guess that the use case of 5G and AR glasses in 2020 will be limited to specific customers.
The major use case of AR glasses is to share the space. Customers must simultaneously share space and communicate in real-time. AR apps require a huge amount of data communication compared to other apps, but because it is real-time experience, latency is unacceptable. Furthermore, it assumes that thousands of people in the same place will be connected simultaneously so for those who develop AR apps, we hope that the spread of 5G technology is a big step in market expansion.
How will AR Battles be changed by 5G?
Graffity is a Tokyo based AR company that provides “AR Battle”. We founded with the mission of “change the communication through AR entertainment” and are focusing on AR games.
AR Battle is a concept of AR game and AR sport. People enjoy AR Battle with friends and family. Graffity released the world’s first AR shooting game called Pechabato in December 2018. We’ve achieved 10,000 downloads in one week and 100,000 battles in one month. We are currently developing a new AR shooting game.
With 5G, we believe that we can enrich our products.
First of all, the faster internet speed will reduce the capacity of the application for 3D rendering. Placing the 3D model in the cloud and downloading it seamlessly via 5G as needed will reduce the size of the app itself. Furthermore, the removal of the app’s capacity limit will allow for higher complex 3D representations than ever before. For example, it gives you more flexibility to create a greater variety of characters, weapons, and effects in AR Battles.
Secondly, the low latency also makes it possible to enrich real-time experience.
In the case of AR battles, customers move their bodies on the field, but with current technology, it frequently happens that their targets and weapons in AR space don’t interlock with each other even when their bodies move. It can cause negative experiences such as “I avoided a bullet, but I lost HP” or “My attack didn’t hit the target.” The low latency can make our AR Battles more intuitive and entertaining for our customers.
Additionally, as the number of simultaneous connections in the same area improves, AR battles can be played in large numbers of people. Currently, Graffity provides PvP gameplay up to 3vs3, but with 5G, it’s possible to provide up to 100vs100. For example, a place like Central Park or an entire city can be used as a field, making it possible to create a world that looks like an AR version of an FPS game.
What is the ARCloud enabled with 5G?
Using a technology called ARCloud and 5G technology, it is possible to get a more sophisticated position of your location. In a nutshell, the ARCloud stores 3D map information data tied to the real world in the cloud.
The ARCloud could be a new alternative to GPS, evolving from GPS to a system known as the Visual Positioning Service/System (VPS). With GPS, you have the same latitude and longitude whether you’re on the first or second floor of a building, but VPS lets you know which floor you are on, and even in which direction you are moving.
Because the ARCloud needs to estimate the location in real-time and in three dimensions, so it needs faster 5G speeds and lower latency. Besides, if people use the ARCloud, they can share each other’s space, and there will be an AR FPS game with many people participating at the same time.
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