How Latency Affects The Gaming Experience And How To Fix It

31st August, 2020

Modern gaming has come a long way since pixelated Nintendo and Attari. In fact, gaming is rumored to be a $140 billion industry by the end of the year. However, the technical specifications required to play have changed dramatically. Now gamers not only need a high-tech console or desktop, but a lightning-fast broadband connection to avoid a laggy gaming experience. Latency must be kept to a minimum, particularly when playing first-person shooter (FPS) titles.  

Put simply, latency can destroy gameplay. For example, FPS games need almost instantaneous feedback for accurate and effective playing. More specifically, latency must be kept to less than 30ms to be truly effective. While RPG or sandbox games can function at around 50ms, the FPS genre is much more demanding. Shooting at a target, especially a moving target, needs a faster connection for realistic playing.   

In this article, we will address how latency affects your gaming experience and the steps you can take to be sure that your games provide the ultimate environment for optimal playing.  

Players demand flexibility and scalability 

To avoid overburdened, slow gameplay, many gamers will use a dedicated gaming server. Oftentimes, as the requirements to power a server continue to grow, it can be cheaper to lease a server than to continuously upgrade gaming equipment. However, this is not met without its own challenges.  

Whether server admins are leasing servers for their own use or to try to monetize the experience for the public, there are a few elements that will help admins improve the gaming experience. Cutting latency is at the top of the list. Scalability comes in at a close second. Gamers love to play with others so the ability to grow resources and bandwidth is a must-have. For example, Minecraft has more than 10 million players spread across a wide range of platforms, including private dedicated servers. 

Players and customers will be looking for a higher-performance server with low ping time and enough resources to adequately meet the game requirements. While latency is barely noticed when loading a web page or sending an email, this barely perceptible timing can be the difference between a successful mission and an utter failure. To avoid these unfortunate results, it’s important to find the source of latency and remedy it.  

The top 3 causes of latency and their solutions 

Malware, bad weather, and even interference could play a role, latency usually results from one or more of the issues listed below: 

Latency Problem #1. Distance from the host server 

If you’re playing a first-person shooter game located on a server halfway around the globe, odds are there will be a greater time delay. This occurs because data needs to travel a greater distance between machines. THG Hosting offers global data center locations to remedy this issue. By putting your gaming server closer to your players, you can solve distance-caused latency problems.   

Latency Problem #2. Traffic loads 

Between streaming, gaming, and the internet of things, internet traffic is distributed in unprecedented volumes. Networks can become overwhelmed or resources could dwindle leading to increased levels of latency. Packet loss soon becomes an issue leading to sending and resending data across networks. THG Hosting has bandwidth options to prevent traffic-caused latency from hindering performance. Select from additional bandwidth add-ons, unmetered bandwidth, or billing at the 95th percentile to cut costs and latency. As always, we will never throttle your bandwidth.  

Latency Problem #3. Overloaded servers 

Servers begin to stutter if they’re overwhelmed with data requests. This is especially true if you are using a shared server or a limited cloud package. This quickly leads to increased latency and poor gaming experience. To solve this latency issue, invest in a dedicated bare metal server from THG Hosting. Our servers are easily customizable and we can design the exact infrastructure needed to fit your workload. 

How to tackle latency 

Unfortunately, we will never completely eliminate latency. Data cannot travel faster than the speed of light. Even the best hosting solution can only cut latency to a certain extent. However, with careful planning and by choosing a great web host, you can cut latency to an amount that won’t limit your player’s gaming experience. Latency of 30 milliseconds or less shouldn’t have a significant impact on any game, even quick draw first-person shooter titles. 

You can check if your gaming experience is affected by latency with ping tests. You can see how long a test packet takes to complete a round-trip journey to the server. Also bear in mind that a sluggish internet connection will throttle any gaming experience. While this is out of the reach of game hosts, game developers should publicize minimum connection speeds to prevent customer criticism.  

Better gaming today 

To provide a better gaming experience to your customers, contact our expert Sales team today. We can quickly and easily design and provision the perfect hosting solution to meet your workload. Find out today how you can cut costs and boost performance. Learn more at THG Hosting.