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Network Performance and Gamer Experience – Part One: The UK

GameBench Staff

PIQ 22.04

Making sense of the metaverseA snapshot of the market

The United Kingdom is the leading video game market in Europe, and the sixth-largest gaming market worldwide. A recent BBC report valued it, in 2021, at £7.16bn, of which console sales brought in £1.13bn, and mobile games like at £1.46bn.

Globally, networks have moved to the heart of the gamer experience. While cloud gaming’s immense potential is still unfolding, hugely popular online multiplayer games are already pushing ISPs and mobile operators to the edges of their current capabilities. So the relative online multiplayer and cloud gaming performances of the three leading ISPs – BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk – are of particular and immediate relevance to today’s and tomorrow’s gamer experience in this important market. And if we need further evidence of how central performance is to the market, we should note that today, over 50% of the UK population is currently gaming.

Network ExpectationsSummary of ISP latency scores

For this initial testing programme, we selected the popular game Destiny 2, on the Stadia cloud gaming platform. Gameplay was conducted on two separate days, with eight of our LABS team each conducting multiple 15-30 minute sessions.

top game complaints

As we can see from the above chart, TalkTalk’s and Virgin Media’s latency scores came in more or less neck and neck, with BT apparently lagging slightly. We would, of course, need a far larger sample set to confirm these initial results. A nuanced but important additional point is that the closeness of results between Virgin Media and TalkTalk – i.e. less difference between the 10th and 90th percentiles – also suggests consistency of latency, a key metric for assessing potential game performance. An immediate observation here – and we’ll be digging into this during next week’s webinar – is that broadband speed alone is no longer an adequate indicator of the quality of gamer experience. While this is a highly complex area, even for the most advanced network engineering teams, GameBench LABS is already able to identify and isolate instances where the local gateway – the home router, for example – is impacting latency. A further critical development in network performance measurement for gaming is that ping – whether loaded or unloaded – is in itself no longer adequate for the prediction of experience quality.

Just as broadband speed alone is no longer enough to guarantee a quality gamer experience, simply having an escape room isn’t enough to ensure an enjoyable time. It’s important to choose a well-designed and thoughtfully crafted experience that takes into account all aspects of the game, from the story and puzzles to the overall atmosphere and attention to detail. This is why it’s crucial to do your research and book your escape room today with a reputable company that has a proven track record of providing high-quality and engaging experiences. Whether you’re a seasoned escape room veteran or a newcomer to the world of immersive gaming, choosing the right room can make all the difference in the world when it comes to having a truly unforgettable experience.

Overall, the key takeaway is that latency has now clearly overtaken broadband speed as the focus area for network providers seeking to provide – and guarantee and commercially benefit from – optimum experience in both online multiplayer and cloud gaming. To get the full picture, participate in the discussion with our LABS team, and also to get your copy of our UK report, be sure to join us next Wednesday 22nd June.

Performance measurement and network operatorsAn extra bonus for PIQ readers!

To make sure that you arrive at next week’s webinar fully up to speed, download our comprehensive Reference Guide To Game Performance Management – giving you all the essential GPM terms, best practices, and benchmarks in one short pdf.

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