What broadband speed do I need for gaming?
By: Shell Energy
21 Sep 2020
There are between 2.2 and 2.6 billion gamers around the world, and most of them can connect effortlessly, no matter their location. Thanks to online gaming, how we play video games has changed forever.
The world of multiplayer games has come a long way from the days of Mario Party and GoldenEye, where four people had to cram into one room with four control pads. Anyone who remembers the PlayStation Multitap will appreciate the evolution of multiplayer gaming.
Today, you can be part of a community of gamers without ever meeting in real life. And it’s all thanks to the internet. But what broadband speeds do you need to enjoy online gaming at its best? If you're as excited as we are about the latest next gen console announcements for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, you'll want to know.
In this guide, we’re bringing you all the important details on setting up your internet for a great gaming experience.
The need for speed: why speed for gaming matters
Anyone who has switched on Netflix only to see the dreaded “buffering” message will attest to the importance of a robust broadband connection. For gamers, the need for speedy internet is even more important.
Imagine you’re engrossed in a Call of Duty battle or you’re 3-nil-up on FIFA and all of a sudden you lose connection. There’s nothing more frustrating than losing an online match because your broadband couldn’t keep up.
Sometimes you won’t even be able to get into the game, with matchmaking failing before the action starts. Or even worse, it takes forever to download for those who buy their games digitally. In fact, 85% of gamers cite that downloading games is frustrating, with slow internet speeds being the biggest problem.
That’s why you need to make sure that you have speeds to handle online gaming. But what is the ideal speed?
Download and upload speeds needed for online gaming
Fortunately, you don’t need blistering speeds to enjoy an online gaming session. The sweet spots for broadband speeds vary depending on the console you’re using. However, as a rule of thumb, you only need a minimum upload speed of 1Mbps and download speed of 3Mbps to connect online.
The minimum might work for basic online gaming. But if you’re looking for a gaming experience without hiccups, you’ll want to aim for speeds of between 15Mbps to 25Mbps.
You should also think about the ping rate, which is the reaction time of your connection and is mostly affected by physical distances and network traffic. An ideal ping rate is less than 150ms. Your ping rate will be displayed on the results page of an internet connection test.
Online multiplayer games
The majority of people who play games online do so for the multiplayer experience. Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games, for example, have soared in popularity as internet speeds become faster.
Games like World of Warcraft and Destiny are big MMO hits, while sports and FPS games like FIFA and Call of Duty make up a huge portion of multiplayer gaming online.
If you’re gaming with friends at home and using the same broadband, you’ll need to have a steady internet connection. The higher number of users in one home, the larger the strain on your internet, so it’s best to choose a fibre broadband package with higher speeds.
What speeds do you need for 4k gaming?
PlayStation and Xbox introduced us to 4K console gaming, and with PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X coming soon, the volume of ultra-high-definition games on the market is set to increase dramatically.
Currently, you need around 60Mbps download speed to enjoy 4K online gaming at its best. These speeds can only be achieved with fibre broadband. Check out our fibre options on our broadband page.
Why is unlimited broad important for online gaming?
Playing games online takes up plenty of data, especially if you’re downloading a full game to your console. For example, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare requires a massive 175GB and is only growing higher through large updates. If you’ve got a data limit, downloading games can eat up all of your allowances very quickly.
However, with unlimited downloads players can get all the latest games without worrying about using up their monthly download limit. Each of our broadband packages comes with unlimited downloads, so there’s no need to worry about running out of data.
Gaming speeds needed by device
While most gaming consoles require similar broadband speeds, there are incremental differences between them that can impact your experience. Here are the recommended minimum speeds for the primary gaming consoles from brands like Sony and Microsoft, as well as PC specifications.
The PlayStation 4 typically requires a minimum download speed of 3Mbps, an upload speed of 1Mbps, and a ping rate lower than 150 ms.
If you’re playing online via Xbox One, you’ll need a minimum download speed of 3Mbps, an upload speed of 0.5Mbps, and a ping rate of 150ms or lower.
Nintendo’s troubleshooting guide asks users with internet connection issues to check if they have a minimum download speed of 3Mbps, an upload speed of 1Mbps, and a ping rate of 150ms or lower.
High-specification PCs used for gaming typically require faster speeds than consoles. You’ll need a minimum of between 3-6Mbps for your download speed, 0.75-1Mbps for your upload speed, and a 100-150ms ping rate or lower.