November 2023 will see the latest Call of Duty release — Modern Warfare 3 — which is rumoured to feature remasters of fan-favourite maps, Highrise and Scrapyard. For the gamers among us, lag can be the difference between survival and death. Here, Adam Kelly, Head of Marketing at full fibre network operator MS3 Networks, explains the benefit that full fibre broadband can make to the gaming experience.
A popular pastime in the digital era, comparison site Uswitch shared that over a quarter of UK adults played some form of online game in 2022, spending between one and five hours per week gaming. When we talk about the value of the internet, we quite understandably focus on its economic and social value. The jobs it helps to create, the skills it teaches and the connections it helps us to make are all top-of-the-list of internet advantages. But being connected also brings a lot of joy and, at times, a needed escape from reality. And that’s important too.
The modern gamer
Gaming today isn’t much like it was a few decades ago. In the 80s, Pac-Man quite literally changed the game in the entertainment world but, once installed in an arcade, it just needed plugging into the mains for gamers to use it. Even later inventions, like the PlayStation 1, were plug-and-play.
But that’s shifted. While offline modes are available for a lot of games, the overall gaming experience is much more collaborative these days. People no longer play alone — connecting in the virtual space and sharing the game experience is often as important as the game itself. With that in mind, the modern gamer needs a reliable internet connection.
Enter full fibre
Anyone who regularly games will picture this nightmare: you’re deep into an intense multiplayer match, with your team one kill away from victory. Your Wi-Fi crashes and, just like that, your efforts are futile. By the time the router reboots, you’re staring at a “game lost” screen.
Fibre-to-the-premise, or full fibre, helps avoid that mishap. Low latency is crucial in fast-paced online games where split-second reactions can make a difference between winning and losing. Full fibre’s optic cables transmit data using light signals, which travel at nearly the speed of light. This low latency means that when you send a command in a game, it reaches the game server and returns to your device quickly. Unlike some other internet technologies like ADSL or cable, fibre internet offers consistent and symmetrical upload and download speeds. This is crucial for online gaming, as it ensures the gaming experience isn't hindered by fluctuations in speed, which can lead to lag and interruptions.
Modern online games, especially those with high-quality graphics and large game worlds much like Call of Duty, require significant bandwidth to download updates, patches and game assets. Fibre internet's high bandwidth capabilities ensure that you can quickly download and update games without long wait times. There’s far less worry about drop-outs too, as fibre optic cables are less susceptible to interference from electromagnetic signals and environmental factors, such as weather conditions.
Full fibre is becoming an essential utility — for gaming, but for many other facets of life too. However, it’s not accessible to everyone yet. The government’s Project Gigabit initiative seeks to connect the UK to full fibre by 2030. Currently, of the 56.3 per cent with access to the network, Ofcom estimates that take-up of services using full fibre is around 25 per cent.
As it stands, full fibre availability isn’t everywhere in the UK. In areas such as Hull for instance, where MS3 operates, residents have long been limited to a single broadband provider. Lack of competition has driven up prices, making full fibre internet a costly investment for those that can access it. Fortunately, that tide is turning and the emergence of other providers, as well as a rise in alternative networks (altnets) is bringing the competition full fibre needs. It’s crucial that we educate consumers on the options available to them, particularly from those altnets that can deliver the low latency, high speed internet they require.
While gamers prep for the next big release, a booming sound system and comfortable gaming chair aren’t they only things on their shopping list. Full fibre internet transforms the gaming experience, taking their entertainment system to the next level.