The gaming industry embodies the digital age, captivating the world with entertainment through electronic devices—and it’s fair to say the industry has played its cards right, continually staying up to date with the latest technology.
Innovations from the likes of PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo have completely transformed gaming, and we’ve seen it grow from an individual entertainment experience into an online community. We’ve also seen gamers taking to the streets to participate in mobile gaming like we did with the Pokémon Go craze.
Gaming continues to be a growing phenomenon, and by 2020, it is predicted that there will be over 730 million online gamers.
The gaming industry is dictated by technology, with gamers wanting to purchase the latest devices and stay connected to the community. Online gaming requires good connectivity, otherwise the reactive and competitive elements which make the game entertaining are lost. And while this is currently delivered over wired or Wi-Fi, 5G networks herald gigabit download speeds and extreme low latency—the perfect combination for gaming. As 5G networks go live, they may even have the potential to supersede Wi-Fi and wired as the preferred method of connectivity for gaming.
With 5G set to provide better connectivity than current cellular and Wi-Fi technology, there’s no doubt that it will revolutionize the experience exponentially and will be a noticeable contributor to 5G device sales. But the only way to access 5G connectivity is with a 5G-enabled device. With a lot of the gaming community expected to make the upgrade, what will happen to their old devices?
With 5G devices already hitting the market, operators, retailers and OEMs will be looking for ways to encourage customers to purchase a new device. The sophistication of these devices has created a new high-end price bracket. But from looking at the launch of 5G in South Korea, where there are already over one million 5G subscribers, what we do know is that people are willing to pay for the upgrade. Operators, retailers and OEMs should be looking to sell as many 5G devices as possible—and this is where trade-ins can play an important role.
There has never been a better time to promote trade-in programs, as the latent value of 4G devices will still be high. Operators, retailers and OEMs need to help their customers recognize the value of their old devices, as even an iPhone 6S can help reduce the cost of a new device.
With this in mind, gaming should be used as a marketing incentive to drive trade-ins. Subscribers need to be shown a less-expensive route to 5G, taking their gaming experience to new heights for less money. Also, the process doesn’t end with the gamer trading in, as a traded-in device will often have a second life. While more developed economies are making the leap to 5G networks, there are still many markets where 5G won’t be a reality for many years to come, making 4G devices incredibly sought after.
The circular economy
Once assessments on pre-owned devices have been made to ensure they are fit for purpose, it is imperative that they remain within the device ecosystem. This not only unlocks the latent value, but supports the circular economy, stimulating digital inclusion as the devices are often used in developing markets.
The circular economy benefits everyone involved: operators, retailers and OEMs get to keep their customers loyal with a new device contract; consumers get credit for their old device which they can put towards the likes of new services or accessories; and the pre-owned device get a second life in the mobile ecosystem, staying out of landfills.
The gaming community, attracted to the promises of high-speeds and low-latency, represents a great 5G revenue opportunity. As they upgrade, this will create a deluge of 4G devices, which need to be repurposed in emerging markets—and the social and economic benefits of this circular supply chain cannot be overstated. If you want to learn more about contributing to the circular economy, read our recent white-paper “Mobile Devices and the Circular Economy”.