Qatar is second in the Middle East terms of median download speeds for both 4G and 5G at 68.63Mbps and 462.96Mbps, respectively, global network intelligence and connectivity insights firm Ookla said in a research report.
The research showed Qatar has the “third highest game score” in the Middle East at 82.81 on a 100-point scale.
“This result reflects the superior mobile network performance in the Qatar market, which helps to deliver a good gaming experience,” Ookla noted.
Game scores were consistently higher for 5G than 4G users in all GCC countries, it said.
The gaming experience benefits from the larger bandwidth and lower latency offered by 5G, contributing to smoother and more responsive gameplay. Game scores on 4G lagged those on 5G by a range from 5.37% in Oman to 8.26% in Saudi Arabia.
GCC operators have the potential to improve the gaming experience by continuing to improve their 5G infrastructure, migrating more customers to 5G, and establishing local gaming servers, Ookla said.
The region benefits from a large youth demographic, a growing casual gaming base, widespread smartphone adoption, and high-speed Internet access. Operators and governments are also helping to increase public engagement in gaming.
Most casual gamers should be able to enjoy a smooth experience over 5G thanks to fast download and upload speeds, but some latency-sensitive games (like multiplayer shooters) may have noticeable lags. Mobile operators can explore different approaches (such as deploying edge computing infrastructure) to improve game responsiveness and prepare their networks for more data-intensive games.
Download speed is essential in creating a smooth gaming experience without interruptions or degradations in streaming quality. High download speeds are also important for downloading digitally distributed games and updates, Ookla said.
Download speed requirements for online mobile gaming vary depending on the game type (for example, cloud gaming needs higher bandwidth than a game played on a smartphone), gamer profile (for example, competitive gamers will need higher bandwidth than casual players) and use cases (for example, downloading game updates compared to playing preload games).
In its analysis, Ookla assumed that 25Mbps was the minimum download speed to enjoy a good gaming experience for casual gamers (who represent the majority of gamers).
According to Ookla’s data, all GCC markets comfortably exceed that requirement on 4G and surpass it significantly on 5G.
The median 5G speed across GCC countries was 6.8 times faster than the median 4G speed (345.53Mbps vs. 43.9Mbps).
Upload speed also plays an essential role in creating a smooth gaming experience without interruptions or quality degradation, particularly in multiplayer games, it said.
Ookla used 3Mbps as a reference point based on the recommended minimum upload speed for a good gaming experience for casual gamers.
Ookla’s data shows that GCC markets are “crushing it when it comes to exceeding” upload requirements for both 4G and 5G.
In absolute terms, Qatar, Bahrain, and the UAE offer the fastest upload speeds, reaching a maximum of 38.48Mbps for the latter, Ookla noted.
“The GCC region has a vibrant and untapped gaming market poised for tremendous growth. This potential hinges on the robustness of the telecoms infrastructure. Gulf operators’ investments in 5G infrastructure helped them climb Ookla’s Game Score leaderboard and demonstrated their commitment to putting their countries on the gaming map.
“Operators can continue to improve the gaming experience and further minimise latency by deploying local gaming servers, edge computing infrastructure, and 5G SA to make games more responsive and smooth. These improvements will put the region in an even better position to lead game development and foster the local gaming ecosystem,” noted Karim Yaici, lead industry analyst at Ookla.
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