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‘Archaic’ Broadband Infrastructure is Failing UK Gamers

Ross Kelly

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UK Gamers CityFibre

Playing online video games with a poor connection can be painful and frustrating in equal measure. CityFibre research shows this is a recurring problem with millions of gamers across the UK.

Some 30 million UK gamers are being let down by ‘archaic’ digital infrastructure, according to new research from CityFibre.

The survey of over 1,000 gamers, conducted by Censuswide, found that connectivity issues had disrupted the gaming experience of more than half of the survey respondents (54%). Around 45% of respondents said that connectivity issues had also lost them a match online.

This research highlights the shortcomings of the UK’s ageing broadband infrastructure, which is affecting more than just gamers and is restricting businesses and households across the country.

Mark Collins, CityFibre’s Director of Strategy and Public Affairs said: “As the limits of our ageing infrastructure are reached, gamers will become increasingly frustrated with the services they are able to access. This could present a major threat to the sector’s ability to grow, and UK gamers’ ability to play.”

UK Gamers Lagging Behind

Overall, CityFibre’s research shows that two-thirds of gamers have found issues with the responsiveness of their internet connection (or that of others). Most said that their gaming experience had been interrupted at least once a week due to poor connectivity, while 60% also noted they found it difficult to enjoy a game due to sub-standard internet.

The time-cost of poor connectivity is an issue that the community fears most, according to the broadband infrastructure firm. Gamers reported that they could spend anywhere up to six and a half days per year waiting for games to update, while an additional two-day wait is experienced while waiting for games to download.

This loss of time can be significant when one considers the size of games in 2018. For example, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is around 101GB. Taking into account the UK’s mean download speed of 18.57mbps, this could take 12 hours.

To put this into perspective, a survey respondent could fly to the California-based headquarters of Treyarch – the developer behind this series – before the game is downloaded. Even the main campaign of previous editions can be completed within this timeframe.

Holding Back Innovation

The survey also highlighted some of the barriers that poor connectivity creates, which CityFibre believes is holding back Britain’s gamers from adopting new technologies and trends.

38% of respondents said they thought their connection would discourage them from adopting or participating in 4K gaming; while nearly half (45%) thought it would inhibit them from participating in online tournaments. Similarly, virtual reality gaming was an area of concern for gamers. Poor internet connections could greatly inhibit their ability to engage with this technology.

The issues affecting gamers are more complex than just low speeds and large download files. A commonly reported issue is “high ping, ” which can be attributed to the bottlenecking and the long-distance lag associated with copper connections. This issue occurs even in part-fibre services.

A staggering 85% of survey respondents thought their gaming performance would improve if they were given access to a full-fibre connection.

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Collins believes this research casts a spotlight on the impact delayed investment could have on the growth and future success of Britain’s thriving gaming community and its significant market position.

“The UK is the fifth largest gaming marketplace in the world, he explained. “The industry employs over 20,000 people, making it a multi-million-pound contributor to the UK economy.

“It’s clear that gamers want better connectivity because it will give them negligible latency, symmetry of connection and great reliable speed. However, the current confusion around fibre advertising means that many will still be paying more for unreliable connection, as they seek the full-fibre gold standard but instead get a poor service that’s strangled by copper from the cabinet.”

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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