There’s a number of reasons for this. First, let’s set the scene.
Imagine you’re playing Call of Duty (or any other multiplayer online game) and are in the middle of a battle with your friends. Time’s running out and your team’s only a few points away from winning. Suddenly, you spot an enemy player hiding behind a wall. You take out your sniper rifle and take aim. You can hear your friends shouting encouragements via the headset. Then, right before you pull the trigger, your internet connection cuts out.
If this happens to a gamer, you can expect them to jump up and start yelling profanities at the screen. Why is it such a big deal? Isn’t the game saved? Can’t you just load the game back up and you carry on from where you left off?
Unfortunately, no, because it’s an online multiplayer game, which means it’s played in real-time with other real-life players. This means when your internet cuts off, you stop being able to control your character which leaves them vulnerable to attack from enemy players. Enemies can easily shoot you - and they probably will.
So, when your internet’s returned and you log back into the game, you’ll probably find your character died. Not just once either - Call of Duty revives killed characters and takes them back to a spawn point, but this doesn’t mean it’s a safe zone. Players often camp out near these points so they can kill any enemies as soon as they spawn there. You died multiple times while you were waiting for your internet to boot back up and your team lost the game.
This is probably the worst scenario, but some others that rank high on the list include:
- Your game lagging so every time you try and attack someone/something, your character s-l-o-w-l-y brings up their weapon. But you were too slow and the enemy gets you first, so you die.
- Being kicked off or not allowed onto a game server because your ping rate is too high. Ping rate is the reaction time of your connection (AKA how fast you get a response in your game after you’ve sent out a request to do a particular action). The lower the ping rate, the faster the reaction.
Anyway, the point is, it’s incredibly frustrating when your broadband connection interferes with your gaming. Unless you like dying, losing games and being mocked by your friends as a result, you need better broadband.
Internet Recommendations for Gamers
This depends on the console and game, but generally (this is important because of a reason we’ll be discussing in the next section), gamers require...
A Connection that’s Not Dial-Up
Dial-up connections are much slower than modern internet connections (e.g. broadband) and their ping rates are much higher than what’s ideal for online gaming. Very few modern games can be played via dial-up as they require higher internet speeds.
A Low Ping Rate - Typically 150ms or Less
The lower the ping rate, the shorter the time gap and the faster the reaction. This means less lagging in your game.
This depends on the game and computer/console you’re playing on. Most modern consoles, like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, recommend that you have at most 150 milliseconds (ms). Ping rates are important because many game servers have thresholds for them. If your ping rate is too high, you might be automatically kicked out of the game.
Download Speed of at Least 3Mbps
Download speed is the rate that data is transferred from the internet to your computer/console. Download speed is usually much faster than upload speed because we need to download information (e.g. movies, songs and documents) more often than we need to upload.
Upload Speed of at Least 0.5Mbps (500Kbps)
Upload speed is the rate that data is transferred from your computer/console to the internet. If your upload and download speeds are symmetrical (exactly the same), this is optimal but download speed is more important than upload speed when it comes to gaming.
Wait...Does That Mean I Don’tNeed Fast Internet for Gaming?
We know how it must look. Judging from the requirements listed above, it seems as though a mediocre broadband connection is enough to be able to game. But remember when we said generally gamers will need the above internet recommendations? This part is true. If you’re just gaming and not using the broadband for any other activity, then the above recommendations will probably be enough.
But let’s be honest. Is gaming the only activity you’ll be using the broadband for? Will you not be downloading and/or updating other games in the background at the same time, or listening to Spotify? You’re not going to be watching a game walkthrough on YouTube or Twitch? And what about the other people in your home? Will they not be streaming TV shows, films or doing a spot of gaming and downloading themselves?
The point is, it’s rare that you’ll be using the broadband for just gaming. So, you’re definitely going to need broadband that offers better conditions for gaming than the recommendations listed above.