As much as we love the current generation of gaming, there can be no denying that it has shared an issue with many modern websites – that of data bloat. Time was, websites and games needed to run well over 56k dial-up connections. Today, even much faster connections can take painfully long to load simple content.
One of the more problematic aspects of this is that of bandwidth limitations. Whether this is born through only poor quality ISPs available in our areas, or from a rapid drain due to unexpected causes, the result is the same. Being stuck with only limited bandwidth for the rest of the month or longer is a major issue for gamers. This is a problem which we want to try to address today.
While online gaming is a major joy for modern players, it is also an enormous issue when it comes to bandwidth. While there are some games which require very little data to be sent and received, some of the less conservative can use hundreds of megabytes per hour.
A recent study by website Whistle Out has crunched the numbers on some of these and has come up with some hard-numbers for a range of popular games. The biggest offender here was Destiny 2, which had a reported data use rate of around 300MB an hour. Other contenders for this crown include Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (250MB), Overwatch (135MB), and DOTA2 (120MB).
Surprisingly, World of Warcraft found itself only using 40MB per hour, though we would imagine this number would change in the case of raiding or hanging around in Stormwind. There are also patches to keep in mind, which can be enormous in the case of Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games.
The best way to choose a game would be to measure your data usage for your chosen game over time. Other than that, we would suggest something like Hearthstone, or mobile compatible games. Games like those at Plarium available here offer premium quality experiences over a range of genres and themes like ancient Spartan combat, sci-fi MMOs, and Real-Time Strategy (RTS). These also come with much lower bandwidth requirements than almost all dedicated online desktop and console games.
For those who prefer something a little more classic, singleplayer games could be your best bet. These might require a significant initial download, but afterward, they should run without any requirements for further data use. Unfortunately, there are exceptions to this rule, which we need to cover.
As with MMOs, patches can be a concern for singleplayer games. This tends to not be a problem with older games, but newer games can expect big patch fixes or updates. There are also additional data use costs if the game comes from a storefront such as Steam.
Steam is great and useful, but it can eat more data than you would predict. Steam updates can easily cost 50 MB every couple of days, and save-file backups into the cloud can also take considerable data. You need to be on the lookout for this or consider something like GoG, or any direct storefront which doesn’t require hefty downloads.
Make a plan in case you get unlucky, to protect yourself against those nasty extra data bills. Chances are that you have games in a backlog you’ve been waiting to get to, so be sure to keep those available for a rainy day. If nothing else, this could be a great time to finally play through Doom.