Here’s How Much Data Online Gaming Actually Uses

Here’s How Much Data Online Gaming Actually Uses
Image: Blizzard

Last week Bill Morrow blamed gamers for congesting NBN’s fixed wireless network, and though a correction has been issued retracting this statement, there still seems to be a belief that gamers are among the NBN’s ‘heavy users’. So how does gaming’s data use actually stack up to things like streaming video?

The Internet Reacts To NBN CEO Blaming Gamers For Congestion

A parliamentary hearing in Sydney got an extra touch of spice yesterday, after the chief executive of NBN Co appeared to finger one group of users supposedly responsible for congestion on NBN's fixed wireless network: gamers.

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You probably won’t be surprised to hear that the data use from gaming is much lower than streaming video: on average, games will only use around a third of the data of streaming Netflix in SD, let alone HD or 4K streaming.

WhistleOut has crunched the numbers on a number of popular games to see just how data hungry they are.

At the top of the list is Destiny 2, using around 300MB an hour, followed by CS:GO at 250MB per hour. Dota 2 and Overwatch are the next highest at 120 and 135MB per hour respectively.

Other popular games like PUBG, World of Warcraft and League Of Legends are even lower, with each of them between 40 and 45MB per hour. You can see the full list at the link above.

So how does that stack up to video streaming? According to another WhistleOut guide, the only video streaming service that’s on par with even the most data hungry games is ABC iView on standard definition or Netflix on low definition, using 300MB an hour each.

If you want to stream in HD, you’re looking at a minimum of 675MB per hour for SBS on Demand, or 3GB an hour for HD Netflix. Want a 4K stream? Netflix and Stan will both eat up 7GB an hour, while Amazon Prime Video is only a little lower at 6.75GB per hour. A little 100MB for games here and there doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?

NBN Says They Weren't Blaming Gamers At All

Following a solid round of criticism over the last 24 hours over comments at a parliamentary hearing in Sydney, NBN Co has issued a statement. NBN chief executive, Bill Morrow, didn't blame gamers for congestion on the fixed wireless network at all.

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Of course there’s one place where gaming is heavy on data: downloads. With more people buying games digitally, and even physical games coming with hefty update files, game downloads can eat up a whole lot of data in a short time. Hell, Alex even managed to shut down our office internet with a single Star Citizen update.

So if you are one of those gamers playing on NBN fixed wireless, you might want to hold off all those Steam updates for a quieter, off-peak time.

If you want to see all the figures in one place, the ABC has a handy chart showing that gamers actually use very little compared to all those Netflix binge-watchers.