It’s infuriating, we know. But they’re actually telling the truth when they say they can’t pause their online game. Why? Because it’s online. This means they’re playing in real-time with other real people.

So, if they just walk away from the screen and leave the game playing, their character will be killed because it’ll be left defenseless. If they log out, their character will drop out and their team will be one player down. Or if they’re the only player, they’ll have forfeited the game. Meaning they’ve lost. And no-one wants to lose.

Online Games are Played with Other Real People in Real-Time

This is something you can’t forget about online games. Unlike offline games (e.g. Fallout, The Witcher and Red Dead Redemption) which can be paused, online games are like sports matches or group projects. What would happen if someone just dropped out of a match or group project? That team would be at a disadvantage and the same theory applies to online gaming. Stopping in the middle of a game guarantees that team will lose and this impacts their ranking they’ve worked hard to improve.

It’s the same with individual players. If players quit mid-match/battle, it can have a major impact on their score, their ranking and ultimately, who they can play with. They may go down the scoreboard and might not be able to play with their friends as a result. Plus, they’ve let their squad down and it is quite disheartening.

So, while it’s not real (“it’s just a game!”), it actually does have some real-life consequences for the gamer. That’s why pausing the game is a little complicated.

So, How Can I Get My Kid to Get Off the Game and Come Down for Dinner?

Now that you understand why you can’t simply pause an online game, you might be wondering how you can cut the dramatics every time you want your child to get off the game. The key is understanding what game your child is playing and having a general idea of how long that particular game lasts.

So, before your child starts gaming, just ask them what game they’re planning to play, rather than how longthey’re planning to play. Asking how long probably won’t get you anywhere and most kids would give you an unrealistically low ballpark figure. But, if you know what game they’re going to play, you can figure out how long a round/match/battle will last and thus, how long before they can quit.

There’s no hard and fast rule for precisely how long a game takes to finish. It also depends on the actual game and the player, but here are some guidelines for one match or battle…

  • First person shooter (Call of Duty, Halo, Overwatch, Fortnite, Battlefield) - 5 to 30 minutes.
  • Multiplayer online battle arena (League of Legends, DOTA 2) - 20 to 45 minutes.
  • Real time strategy (Age of Empires, Warcraft, Rise of Nations) - 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Fighter (Street Fighter, Tekken, Mortal Kombat) - 5 to 7 minutes (but WWE wrestling games can last up to 30 minutes).
  • Sports (FIFA, NBA) - 10 minutes.
  • Sandbox (Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto) - varies as it depends on the rules of the specific game.

How to Tell When Your Kid’s Game is Almost Finished

If you know what game your child’s playing, you have an estimate of how long it might take them to finish. Some games, particularly shooter and fighter games (with the exception of wrestling), are very quick and are over in less than 10 minutes. Others, such as MOBAs (multiplayer online battle arena), tend to last longer - up to 45 minutes on average.

You should also keep an eye and ear out for “win conditions”, which is any strategy that allows your child to win their round/match/battle/adventure. You’ll also hear loud cheers and whooping (indicating victory) or angry shouts, groans and possibly profanities (indicating defeat).

If you find that your child takes much longer than expected, it may be that they’re either up against tough opponents or they’re squeezing in an extra game or two. Avoid this by straight up asking your child if the game is nearly done and what the win conditions are. Get the specifics on what happens when it ends and you can make sure your gamer only finishes up one game, as opposed to several.

Basically, You Can’t Pause Online Games But You Can Understand More About How They Work

You can never pause, quit or turn off online games without finishing the round or match first. So, if your child’s not finished and you try to get them to leave, you can expect to experience a flurry of rage and some serious sulking.

But you can try to avoid this outcome by talking to your child about the game. Learn more about it and how it works so you can come up with better ways to manage game time together. That way, they won’t get stuck mid-game and you won’t be left annoyed that you’ve had to serve cold dinner yet again.

Or, You Can Join Your Kids and Game Along

The best way to find out about win conditions, aside from asking your kids, is to join in and game along with them. Gaming is a great family bonding activity. Some of the best games include:

  • Minecraft
  • Call of Duty
  • Mario
  • FIFA
  • Halo
  • Gears of War

Want to Enhance the Gaming Experience?

Your aim right now is to wean your kids off the games, right? So, you’re probably thinking if you enhance the gaming experience it will make them less willing to stop playing? Well, not necessarily. Better broadband can help the gamers get the most out of their gaming, leaving them happier and less frustrated because the internet isn’t fluctuating, lagging or affecting their gameplay. Your kids will certainly thank you for it.

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