As technology continues to develop at a rapid pace, culture shifts around it just as quickly. From the humble beginnings of games like Pong, the newest games, like Call of Duty: Vanguard, Halo Infinite, and Battlefield 2042, come ever closer to being indistinguishable from real life. At the same time, a gaming community grows larger and more diverse along side it. More people than ever before identify themselves as gamers, and it has become a very large part of the way our culture interacts with one another. When people are shopping for an internet service provider, an increasingly common question being asked is, “Can I play my favorite games on this connection?”
Even with the speed of technological advancement moving this fast, there are still many places where it is difficult to find a good internet connection. For many living in remote and rural areas, Viasat satellite internet service has been a life-changing discovery. But there are many who may be wondering, “Can I play video games like Fortnite, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and DOOM Eternal on Viasat?”
The answer is not simple. Single-player gaming is generally unaffected by internet connections and will naturally play without issue for the most part. Multiplayer games like Counter-Strike are where things get complicated. Some multiplayer games will have no trouble whatsoever on a satellite internet connection. While games that require precision timing, like DOOM and other first-person shooters, for example, are going to vary in performance. The problem is latency.
Latency is not a measurement of speed, but it is a measurement of delay. It measures the amount of time it takes for one packet of data to travel to its destination and back again. That may sound like speed, but there’s a bit more to it, because more than one packet is sent at the same time. Speed then, is measuring how much data can be sent over a set amount of time. A good example is streaming a movie. Unlike when playing games like Fortnite, latency doesn’t really matter at all in this situation. Once the data stream begins transmitting the data, it doesn’t wait for each packet to make the trip before continuing to send data. All that happens is that the movie starts a fraction of a second later than it would on a low-latency connection.
First-person shooters like Halo are a very good example of the problem that latency can create for online gaming. Imagine you’re playing Call of Duty. You take aim and shoot at an enemy player. Your device sends the instruction to a server that you want to fire your weapon, but since it takes half a second to get there, the enemy player isn’t where you aimed any longer, and the shot misses. Video game developers are well aware of this problem though and have developed very sophisticated ways of compensating for latency.
This is why the answer isn’t simple: Some game developers have done a better job compensating for latency than others have. So, some games will work well, and others will leave you feeling frustrated. The good news is that at the break-neck speed technology has been improving, this is unlikely to be a problem for much longer.
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