VR games emerging as ‘killer’ 5G content for telecom firms


Telecom companies here are increasingly utilizing virtual reality (VR) games as “killer” content to captivate customers and reap profits in preparation for the launch of full-scale fifth-generation (5G) network services, officials said Tuesday. SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus, which sent the first 5G signal Dec. 1 using mobile routers, are aiming to start offering high-end 5G services running on smartphones in March. An official from one of the mobile carriers said, “We believe VR content is an optimal service in the 5G era as 5G is capable of providing high-speed, ultra-low-latency mobile services to transmit VR content carrying a large amount of data.”


The mobile carriers’ move to develop VR games comes at a time when they have been struggling to find profit models that will make up for their enormous investments into the construction of 5G networks. SK Telecom joined hands with the nation’s leading game firm Nexon to develop VR games for 5G smartphones, having signed a contract to use intellectual properties (IPs) of the latter’s three games ― “Kartrider,” “Crazy Arcade” and “Bubble Fighter.” The top mobile carrier said it plans to release the 5G VR games including tentatively named “Kartrider VR” within the first half of the year in tandem with the launch of global smartphone makers’ launch of 5G smartphones. “The latest signing is meaningful in that the nation’s top mobile carrier and the top game firm have joined forces to create an ecosystem for 5G and VR games,” said Yang Maeng-seok who heads the 5GX MNO business division at SK Telecom. “We will unveil a variety of killer content in time for the release of 5G smartphones.”


SK Telecom said it has been exploring partnerships with various global companies to secure content, noting that signing ceremonies with game and media companies will take place on the sidelines of the upcoming Mobile World Congress 2019 (MWC) scheduled to kick off on Feb. 25 in Barcelona. The company said it will continue to expand its lineup of 5G VR games, adding that it plans to offer such content exclusively to its subscribers. KT also plans to showcase the 5G-based multiplayer game, “VR Sports,” in cooperation with VR content developer Appnori during the MWC. The service will be showcased through KT’s GiGA Live TV, which was released in November last year to enable users to enjoy content through wireless VR devices, the company official said. The firm plans to offer the service for 5G smartphones as well. Through “VR Sports” that will provide unprecedented immersion, users can enjoy playing various games including baseball and table tennis. The game allows several users to play it simultaneously.  Meanwhile, LG Uplus said it also plans to showcase a variety of VR and augmented reality (AR) content including upgraded professional baseball broadcasting and golf apps during the MWC.

By Jun Ji-hye

(Korea Times)

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