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The Edge

DT launches cloud gaming, no thanks to MobiledgeX

Deutsche Telekom in Germany launched a new, cloud-based video game streaming service called MagentaGaming that leverages edge computing technology and can work on the operator's 5G network.

MagentaGaming "relies on a decentralized edge cloud concept to keep the distance to the customer as short as possible," the company explained.

However, the San Francisco startup created by DT almost four years ago for exactly this type of service is not supporting the launch of the new product.

"Due to technology compatibility issues during the development stage, the commercially launched service of MagentaGaming is not currently running on MobiledgeX technology," a Deutsche Telekom spokesperson wrote in response to questions from Light Reading on the topic. "However, it is our plan to migrate the service on to MobiledgeX cloudlets for future releases."

A representative from MobiledgeX did not respond to questions from Light Reading.

MobiledgeX was conceived inside of DT via an "18-month internal study of the value of the edge to operators and developers," MobiledgeX explains on its website. MobiledgeX launched commercially with fanfare in early 2018. In early 2019, the company touted advancements, including a mixed reality game demonstration with Samsung and Niantic, the company behind the popular Pokémon Go game.

MobiledgeX executives have explained that the company's goal is to develop partnerships with mobile network operators to allow them to sell edge computing services to developers. Beyond DT, MobiledgeX has discussed work with the likes of SK Telecom, Docomo, Telefónica and Telus.

DT's US operation, T-Mobile US, has remained mum on MobiledgeX. Company officials did not respond to Light Reading questions about whether T-Mobile US would bring MagentaGaming to the US market, or whether the company has an agreement with MobiledgeX for edge computing.

MobiledgeX isn't the only company struggling in the edge computing space. Ericsson's Edge Gravity eyed a similar play but shut down earlier this year. Meantime, big operators like Verizon and AT&T are signing onto edge computing offerings from established cloud computing vendors like Amazon and Microsoft.

DT doesn't appear to be the only operator with cloud gaming aspirations. The Verge reported in early 2019 that Verizon was testing its own Verizon Gaming service, described as a Netflix for video gaming. But it's unclear whether Verizon's cloud gaming tests will result in the kind of commercial offering that DT unveiled this week; Verizon now offers its customers promotional access to Google's Stadia cloud gaming service.

Meantime, other video game companies like Sony, Nvidia and Microsoft are also moving into the market for cloud-based video game streaming.

Such offerings could create additional demand for edge computing services – and telco's bandwidth – given that edge computing network designs help reduce latency, which is the time between when a player presses the "jump" button and their video game character executes the leap.

DT's MagentaGaming service offers access to around 100 different games for free for three months, then for around $8 per month thereafter. The service works across a wide variety of devices, is supported by a DT-supplied controller and app, and data from the service isn't subject to DT's monthly data limits. DT boasts that 5G "supports responsive data transmission and will also set new standards in cloud gaming" but in its FAQs the company also warns that "for the best gaming experience, we recommend connecting via LAN or Wi-Fi."

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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