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How much data does online gaming really use? (and how to manage it!)
Online Gaming - How Much Data Does It Use?

Online Gaming – How Much Data Does It Use?

Recently there’s been some debate around internet bandwidth congestion being linked to the increase in online gaming for fixed wireless customers in regional areas. Between this and the fair use policy that already limits rural and regional satellite customers in the amount of peak monthly data that rural and regional Australians can use, it’s important to know which activities use what amount of data.

There are two ways that online gaming can drain your data. One is when you’re actually playing the game (see below for a handy guide to popular games and their hourly data use rate), and the other is due to downloading the game itself.

Full Game, Game Update, and Patch Downloads:

According to information from the nbn™, full game downloads such as Star Wars Battlefront require 27GB on a PC just for the game. The data use doesn’t stop there. As generally happens with games after the initial release, there are patches and updates that get released (as well as additional content), and the total download amount for Star Wars sits at around 54GB. Even if you bought the game on a CD, the additional 27GB of updates, patches, and content still need to be downloaded.

Most gaming consoles will be set to automatically download patches and updates. For satellite customers we highly recommend disabling automatic downloads, and manually downloading any required patches or updates during off-peak times. Please refer to your console’s instruction manual or online troubleshooting guide for how to turn off automatic downloads.

Online Game Play Data Use:

Contrary to popular belief, online game play doesn’t actually use a super high amount of data. The amount of actual data used is different depending on which game you’re playing, but overall online game play data use is significantly less than what you’d use streaming Netflix for an hour at standard definition. (For information on streaming data use, see our guide here).

Besides the online game play, an additional consideration is the use of voice chat whilst playing the game. Although in the scheme of overall data use, the additional data for this isn’t huge – it still adds between 13MB and 45MB according to the nbn™.

Unless satellite customers are planning on playing games during off-peak hours, the only way to effectively regulate your data use whilst playing is to find out how much data actually gets used during an hour of game play for the specific game you’re using, and moderate your playing time.

(below chart taken from WhistleOut – see the full article here)

online gaming data usage