The short answer is yes, but for more details – read on.

For many people, satellite internet has developed a poor reputation. Whether the complaints are about data caps or high latency, satellite internet has not been able to offer quite the same experience that other ground-based connections like cable and fiber offer their customers. Online gamers have had frustrations playing games like Call of Duty, Halo, and Battlefield because high latency can make games like that near unplayable. A relatively new internet service provider, Starlink, is hoping to change that reputation.

How does latency affect games like Fortnite and DOOM?

Fast-paced multiplayer games like Counter-strike and other first-person shooters require precise timing to work properly. When a player aims and tries to shoot at an enemy, if there is a delay before the gun actually fires, the enemy will have already moved away. Some game developers have succeeded in mitigating the effects of latency to a degree, but there is no doubt that higher latency players will be at some disadvantage to other players.

Why does satellite internet have high latency?

The transmissions between satellite dishes and satellites in orbit travel at the speed of light, so why is there a noticeable delay? Satellites are usually extremely far away – about 22,000 miles away. Even with that incredible distance, the data manages to make a round trip in a little over half a second. But half a second in an online shooter like Call of Duty is the difference between hitting and missing your target.

Can I play games like Halo and Battlefield on Starlink?

Starlink is different than most other satellite internet providers in that they have elected to put their satellites in low-earth orbit – only about 500 - 600 miles away. This makes them able to offer an internet connection with latency like what you would expect from cable or fiber – around 20ms. That makes playing games like Fortnite and DOOM on Starlink about the same as playing them on cable and fiber. There is a catch though. Satellites at that distance have a much smaller range than traditional geo-stationary satellites. That’s why Starlink needs somewhere around 42,000 satellites in orbit to complete its satellite constellation. With only around 1800 in orbit so far, availability of Starlink is extremely limited.

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