A guide to the most popular online games and how much bandwidth they use
Gamers, start your engines: the ultimate guide to fast gaming
The 12th man: a gamer’s secret weapon
When you jump into your favorite game with a fast, reliable internet connection and an optimized setup, it’s like having the home-field advantage—or, to borrow an expression from an old-school offline game, your personal 12th man.
In sports, the 12th man refers to the fans in the stands. High-energy spectators can significantly impact a game by making noise and creating distractions. Their persistent needling gets into the heads of the opposing team, giving the home team an advantage. The effect is real. Home teams historically win more frequently and by greater margins.
Fiber internet is your 12th man. It gives you the support you need to perform your best in the virtual arena—with seamless play, swift downloads, and uninterrupted gameplay. So, when Duty calls, or you’re strategizing your next move in RuneScape or Dota 2, fiber internet is a game-changer.
How much bandwidth does gaming use?
A connection speed of 3 to 6 Mbps is the minimum you need to play most multiplayer online games. That may be enough bandwidth to get into the game. But it may not deliver the smooth HD graphics or in-game video chat you want if you’re competing with a household of bandwidth-hungry video streamers, vloggers, or remote workers. Let’s break down the specific bandwidth needs for gaming and other online activities.
How to measure bandwidth
You usually see bandwidth shown as megabits per second (Mbps), megabytes per hour (MB/hr), or gigabits per day (GB/day). The math shakes out like this:
- 1 Mbps = 450 MB/hr
- 450 MB/hr = 10.8 GB/day
For hardcore gamers, the bandwidth needed for online games adds up fast. Anyone with a measured internet plan knows long sessions can push them over their data caps, leading to data throttling or overage fees. That’s a game nobody wants to play.
Does your connection need more fiber?
Fiber internet gives you fast, uninterrupted play. Depending on where you live, you can get speeds up to 940 Mbps. When you do the math, that comes out to 423,000 MB/hr or more than 10,000 GB/day. With speeds like these, it’s worth asking, “How much data does gaming use?” An even better question might be, “What can I do with all that bandwidth?” To answer that question, we pulled over 40 of the top games and evaluated their appetite for data.
Do games use a lot of data?
As you can see from our list of popular titles, most video games use less than 100 MB/hr. Some consume very little data, like RuneScape and Final Fantasy XIV. Others, like Destiny 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, have healthier appetites that require up to 300 MB/hr. The whale of data for gaming is Halo Infinite, which uses a whopping 1,000 Mb/hr. A traditional internet connection may not be able to handle that, but compare it to a 940 Mbps internet connection from Quantum Fiber, where an hour of playing Halo Infinite uses only 0.2% of the available bandwidth.
How much data does downloading a game use?
Downloading certain games can slow an ordinary internet connection to a crawl. ARK: Survival Evolved weighs in at 250 GB, about 100 GB more than Final Fantasy XV, Forspoken, or Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare comes in at 133 GB, while Grand Theft Auto 5 and Destiny 2: Lightfall are around 100 GB. Minecraft Legends is a lighter lift, with a file size of 10.2 GB for the PC version.
With a traditional 5 Mbps connection (the minimum needed for gaming), a more substantial game like GTA 5 can take about 45 hours to download. But with Quantum Fiber’s 940 Mbps, you’ll be behind the wheel in less than 15 minutes. Instead of five days to download ARK, you can get up and running in about 38 minutes with fiber internet. You also don’t need to worry about updates and patches that can slow things down. Most updates are so minor, you probably won’t even notice when they happen.
How your internet connection impacts ping
Ping refers to the time it takes to receive a response from a server after sending a command. It’s an essential indicator of your internet connection’s speed and stability and directly affects how your system performs in a multiplayer game. Ping usually shows in milliseconds (ms). The ideal ping is 1 ms, but a ping of less than 60 ms is considered good. With virtually no latency, games feel snappy and responsive. The higher the ping number, the more lag you get, which could effectively take you out of the game.
A fast internet connection is one of the most critical factors in controlling a low ping rate, but it’s not the only one. Your WiFi setup can also significantly impact your ping since bottlenecks may occur before data reaches your PC or gaming console.
Quantum Fiber 360 WiFi blankets your home with a robust and stable signal optimized for speed. Our smartphone app lets you control access to your network and manage which devices are using data so you’re not competing for bandwidth. It’s fast, consistent, and keeps the needs of eager gamers in mind.
Do consoles and devices impact data for gaming?
Sony PlayStation 5 (PS5), Xbox (Series S and X), and the Nintendo Switch OLED are solid choices. They share similar performance and specs, such as recommended upload and download speeds, wireless adapters, and ping rates. You may prefer one over another, but from a bandwidth and performance perspective, they all deliver brilliantly. Purpose-built gaming PCs optimized for speed and performance are another excellent option.
Depending on what tasks you’re performing, the number of devices on your network can significantly impact performance. Think about everything connected in your home: smart TVs, streaming devices, computers, smartphones, printers, speakers, appliances, lights, security systems, fitness equipment—the list goes on. They all consume data, and some use a substantial amount.
4K video streaming uses the most bandwidth. Services like Netflix and Hulu require 15 Mbps. Disney Plus uses 25 Mbps, but Amazon Prime only needs 5 Mbps. Multiple streaming likely occurs throughout the day if you live with family or roommates. HD definition streaming typically uses 1-5 Mbps, which is the same range of bandwidth needed for music streaming and video calls.
Let’s do the math again to see the impact:
- Gaming bandwidth = 6 Mbps
- 4 simultaneous 4K video streams = 80 Mbps
- 2 simultaneous YouTube streams = 5 Mbps
- 2 simultaneous music streams = 3 Mbps
- 1 Zoom meeting = 4 Mbps
- Assorted IoT devices = 2 Mbps
These all total around 100 Mbps. Ultra-fast fiber internet gives you plenty of room to download games and updates, keep video chat open all day, and accommodate anything else on your network that would likely derail an ordinary connection.
Win the bandwidth game with Quantum Fiber
Fiber internet makes gameplay a rush, 4K video streaming smooth, and everyday life seamless. The main point isn’t the connection—it’s what you can do with it.
Quantum Fiber offers incredibly fast fiber internet with speeds up to 940 Mbps and 99.9% reliability. There are no annual contracts or equipment to buy, and you get billed each month, so you can cancel at any time. The next time you’re in a head-to-head battle, exploring a new world, or demonstrating your virtual athletic skills, remember this—with Quantum Fiber on your team, the home-field advantage is yours.
*Speed may not be available in your area. ^Comparison, as of 10/7/22, based on Quantum Fiber technology with wired upload speeds of up to 940 Mbps to major cable providers’ 1GIG cable service over DOCSIS 3.1 technology with upload speeds of 35 Mbps.
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