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AT & T is not building a cloud gaming business — but it may be fishing for reductions

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AT & T has been hanging the intriguing potential for months. What if you could try a blockbuster game on that network right away for free? The company generally started by bundling a 6-month free subscription to Google Stadia, and then allowed customers to stream a full copy. Batman: Arkham Knight When Control Via the internet.Then it hinted at something even more interesting: a game service to try before you buy where you can try the game Directly from search resultsIf you like it, buy a full copy, download it, and resume where you left off.

Current cloud gaming services do not offer such a thing.

However, when I talked to the people responsible for these AT & T initiatives, I found that AT & T had no plans to create such a thing on their own. In fact, the company’s experiments do not point to the cloud gaming business at all.

“We are not going to turn it into a business,” says Matthew Wallace, Assistant Vice President of 5G Products and Innovation at AT & T. “The goal of our lives is not to provide game apps or services. We want to provide the underlying network features and make those features available to game companies and customers.”

Ask other ways to make sure you understand it correctly. Does AT & T want to offer a lack of vision to try before buying? “We are not interested in launching a gaming service for that,” says Wallace. Since the company has existing relationships with Google and Microsoft, it hasn’t invested in building its own cloud network to attract game publishers, and there’s no other free game like this: Batman Also Control Side by side; According to Wallace, AT & T is currently looking for the next partner.

So what does AT & T want from cloud gaming? Wallace, a 25-year veteran of AT & T, was straightforward. His role dates back to 2019 and began as a 5G test case. This is just one of the most useful examples of difficult but potentially desirable network loads that take advantage of faster connections. “Games, especially cloud gaming, were one of the first things to be at the forefront,” he says.

Therefore, my job was to partner with game companies and understand how networks can better meet their needs. “Our focus is on what we can do on the network to ensure that customer sessions have the right characteristics,” says Wallace. This includes not only wireless performance, but also an optimized path for all data through the network, and the time it takes to travel “from the mobile core to where the application is”, among other hops. It will be shortened.

The fact that cloud gaming is not well understood is that fast connections are not fast enough in terms of download speed. Much more important is latency. Here is the time it takes to press the button to go to the remote server, move the game character and return to the screen. According to Wallace, AT & T has learned that cloud gaming requires both speed and latency to be consistent, which “certainly suppresses cellular networks.” That’s what the company is working on in these public tests.

So AT & T may be thinking about ways to dramatically improve consistency, which is potentially controversial. According to Wallace, the company is testing quality of service adjustments that can “ensure that resources are allocated to customers using cloud gaming apps.” In other words, AT & T can prioritize the use of cloud gaming over other types of data. It flies in the face of the principle of net neutrality. (Net neutrality is almost dead in the US, but alive in California. It could come back nationwide.)

According to Wallace, AT & T is only testing this internally in the lab and in the field. “It’s not what we’re offering live yet,” he says. “We don’t know about these things to market, but with the right level of service, we can imagine a future where games will work for our customers. Customers don’t have to do anything special. “

I’m torn. Cloud gaming needs to “work well” for success, but it seems that AT & T is considering paid prioritization in its “appropriate service level” comments. If I have to choose, I choose net neutrality.