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Portable consoles, streaming services are biggest opportunities in video games

The news: Razer, Verizon, and Qualcomm are teaming up on the Razer Edge 5G, the world’s first 5G mobile gaming handheld, per Ars Technica. They are the latest players in an emerging gaming trend.

  • The Edge 5G has the ability to stream or download games “over 5G ultra wideband.”
  • It’s based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 gaming platform, an Android-based platform built for streaming games.

Why it’s worth watching: As the gaming industry heads for a slowdown, we are seeing new opportunities in portable gaming hardware like the Nintendo Switch, Steam Deck, Logitech’s G Cloud, and various GPD products.

  • The NPD Group predicted that Nintendo could lead in console hardware sales for 2022 since its Switch line of consoles is more affordable and readily available. 
  • The Switch is facing a variety of more powerful and connected portable competitors for the first time.

We forecast that the future of video games will be streaming, which makes sense for powerful, portable consoles that are basically handheld PCs with Wi-Fi or 5G connectivity.

  • Streaming will grow the most of any gaming platform by 2025, according to 40% of 300 game developers surveyed by Perforce Software. Another 24% said mobile will grow the most, while fewer pointed to the metaverse or consoles.
  • The latest portable gaming consoles are designed for streaming and can run mobile games and emulate console and PC game performance. 
  • As gaming PCs and consoles continue to be held back by supply chain shortages, the new wave of portable consoles use readily available systems on a chip (SoC) and PC components.
  • Thanks to improved Wi-Fi and 5G connectivity and game streaming services like Xbox Game Pass and Steam, gamers have access to thousands of titles they can now play on the go.

Trendspotting: The portable gaming segment will continue to benefit from partnerships with network carriers as well as chip manufacturers looking to break ground beyond smartphones and PCs, which are both maturing markets.

Expect T-Mobile, AT&T, and other global carriers to seek out hardware gaming partnerships to compete with Verizon’s Razer Edge 5G.

What’s the catch? Consumers will need to navigate various game streaming platforms and decide which operating systems, carriers, and subscription ecosystems they want to invest in. 

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Connectivity & Tech Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the technology industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.