Modern console games are delivered from online stores such as Steam, XBox Live and Playstation Network. The games can be tens or even hundreds of gigabytes, so achieving high throughput from these stores is important to gamers.
The throughput will depend on the CDNs (Content Distribution Networks) that host the games. ISPs will have varying connection agreements with CDNs, which means that your performance could vary significantly depending on the ISP you use and where the CDNs are located.
Our game stores test supports the following platforms:
- XBox Live
- Playstation Network
In all cases, our test downloads a portion of a real game for a fixed duration (20 seconds by default), or when a maximum transfer size has been reached (50000000 bytes by default), whichever happens first. The download is performed over HTTP, using multiple parallel requests. The platforms vary in their parallelisation strategies, but typically use between 4 and 20 parallel TCP connections. Our test defaults to using 8 parallel connections, but this is configurable.
Factors such as TCP slow start are accounted for through the use of a “warm-up” period. This period begins as soon as the test starts and seeks to remove the impact of TCP slow start from the results. The warmup period ends after a configurable amount of time (3 seconds by default) or when a maximum warmup size has been reached (1000000 bytes by default), whichever happens first.
It is important to note that the data transferred in the warm-up period is excluded from the main test results, but it is still recorded separately as a supplementary metric.
Optionally, a “randomise data” function is available which can reduce the impact of caching on recorded speeds.
At the time of writing, the platforms we support utilise the following CDNs to deliver their game content:
- Steam - Valve's own CDN, and Akamai
- XBox Live - Akamai
- Playstation Network - Akamai and Fastly
The test captures the following key metrics:
- Download speed
- A list of the CDN hostnames and IPs that were used in the download
- Average DNS lookup time
- Average TCP connection establishment time
- Total size and duration of the transfer
Before you play a game, you need to download it
Game console markets make up the majority of new game purchases and can deal with high latency and congestion. Our data reveals that the game store download speeds are often much slower than test server download speeds, especially during the rush of a new game release.
Read more about Measuring the performance of game stores.
Our gameplay test measures latency, packet loss and jitter to a wide array of popular online games. The approach varies slightly depending on the game in question, but they all share common characteristics. Crucially, our test performs the measurement to the real gaming infrastructure of the game in question. This is sometimes determined in partnership with the game publisher, sometimes it is determined from publicly available information, and sometimes it is determined by studying the game’s traffic.
Wherever possible, we will perform the measurement using the real gameplay protocol. Commonly this is based on UDP, using a non-standard port number and a custom application-layer protocol. Where this is not possible, we will fall back to using ICMP.
The following is a list of games that are currently supported:
- League of Legends
- FIFA 2023
- Apex Legends
- Heroes of the Storm
- Diablo III & Diablo IV
- Overwatch 2
- Among Us
- Counter Strike: Global Offensive
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
- PUBG Mobile
- World of Warcraft
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
- Rocket League
- StarCraft 2
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II & Warzone 2.0
- Gears of War 5
- Halo Infinite
- Battlefield V
For all games, the measurement is carried out in two phases. The first phase carries out a brief latency measurement to every server globally that we know about for this game, in order to find the server with the lowest latency to the client. The second phase then carries out a fuller latency measurement to the server found in phase one. By default, only the results for the nearest server are reported. Optionally, measurements can be carried out to every destination.
The test uses ten packets to carry out its measurement by default. The test can also record the number of hops to the server.
The measurement client records the following:
- The average, minimum and maximum and standard deviation of round-trip time.
- The IP address of the server.
- The region and datacenter name, if available, of the server.
- The number of packets sent and received, allowing packet loss to be calculated.
Good internet performance is critical for gaming
Beyond downloading your 100GB game, gamers need fast latency and low packet loss to stay competitive when gaming online. Gaming servers are spread out all over the world, but the physical distance and performance to each of them is unique to every gamer.
Read about how Saudi Arabia are benchmarking their national gaming performance with SamKnows.
League of Legends
A multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Riot Games. The game is often cited as the world's largest esport, the 2019 world championship had over 100 million unique viewers.
A multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Valve. It is currently the most lucrative esports game, with tournament prize funds in excess of $40 million.
A series of football video games developed and released annually by EA Sports. It's the best-selling sports video game in the world, selling over 325 million copies as of 2021.
An online video game developed by Epic Games and released in 2017. Up to 100 players fight to be the last person standing in the free-to-play Battle Royale game. The game attracted 125 million players in less than a year, earning $9 billion in revenue in its first two years.
Heroes of the Storm
A multiplayer online battle arena game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. Players form into five-player teams and fight against another team in 5-versus-5 matches, with the average duration of 20 minutes.
Diablo III & Diablo IV
A hack-and-slash action role-playing game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment.
An online game platform and game creation system developed by Roblox Corporation. It allows users to program games and play games created by other users. 164 million monthly active users and it is played by over half of all children aged under 16 in the United States.
Team-based multiplayer first-person shooter game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment.
An online multiplayer social deduction game developed and published by Innersloth. While the game was released in 2018 to little mainstream attention, it received a massive influx of popularity in 2020 due to many well-known Twitch streamers and YouTubers playing it.
Online multiplayer battle royale game developed and published by PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary of Bluehole. In the game, up to one hundred players parachute onto an island and scavenge for weapons and equipment to kill others while avoiding getting killed themselves. The last player or team standing wins the round.
An abridged version of the original game that's free-to-play and released on Android and iOS platforms.
World of Warcraft
A massively multiplayer online role-playing game released in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment. The game had over one hundred million registered accounts by 201 and by 2017, had grossed over $9.23 billion in revenue, making it one of the highest-grossing video game franchises of all time.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
An online tactical shooter video game developed and published by Ubisoft. By In December 2020, the game surpassed 70 million registered players across all platforms.
Valorant is a free-to-play first-person hero shooter developed and published by Riot Games. It was nominated for Best Esports Game, Best Multiplayer and Best Community Support at The Game Awards 2020.
Rocket League is a vehicular soccer video game developed and published by Psyonix. Rocket League has also been adopted as an esport, with professional players participating through ESL and Major League Gaming along with Psyonix's own Rocket League Championship Series.
A military science fiction video game created by Blizzard Entertainment. Set in a fictional future, the game centers on a galactic struggle for dominance among the various fictional races of StarCraft.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II & Warzone 2.0
The 18th instalment in the overall Call of Duty series. Vanguard establishes a storyline featuring the birth of the special forces to face an emerging threat at the end of the war during various theatres of World War II.
Gears of War 5
The fifth main instalment of the Gears of War series follows the story of Kait Diaz, who is on a journey to find out the origin of the Locust Horde.
The sixth instalment in the Halo series, and the third in the "Reclaimer Saga". It is the most popular halo game ever. The campaign follows the human super-soldier Master Chief and his fight against the enemy Banished on the Forerunner ringworld Zeta Halo.
A first-person shooter game and the eleventh instalment in the Battlefield series. The game sold 7.3 million copies by the end of 2018.