How COVID-19 is impacting video games

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If you’re being sensible and not going out during this pandemic, you’re cooped up inside not doing all that much – bored out of your brains, working from home, probably trying to remember what a tree looks like.

But there’s a lot of joy to be had still! Procrastination and staying-at-home begs for you to pick up a controller and start playing a multitude of the games that are out there right now.

Gaming is going nuts right now – last week, Forbes reported  that popular gaming service Steam completely broke records. Some 20 million concurrent players worldwide were playing on the service at the same time, beating out the previous record for concurrent players at any given time on Steam by almost 1 million.

Popular game Destiny 2 reported that its player-count is up 10% worldwide, with up to 20% more players in regions most affected by coronavirus.

To keep people indoors, games are actually encouraging players to stay inside by offering incentives. Right now in Star Wars: Battlefront 2 and in World of Warcraft, you can level up twice as fast with double XP.

How will this affect my gaming?

Well – it means you’ll need a more reliable internet connection, for starters. Having more players online at any given time could mean lag and bandwidth issues, which will lead to slower response rates in the games and overall a less enjoyable experience.

In preparation for a similar increase in demand, the Australian Government just asked Netflix and Stan to lower video quality to reduce strain on the NBN. There’s a good chance online gaming would cause similar strain on Australia’s network.

NBN Co has also announced it will waive fees for NBN providers to add up to 40% more CVC (Connectivity Virtual Circuit, or capacity), meaning there’s going to be more bandwidth to go around in the coming weeks and months.

If you want to stand any chance online, you’ll need a plan that offers low latency, decent bandwidth and a good evening speed. But fret not! Australia shouldn’t be too impacted by having too many users on at any given time. Australian player-bases for games are not massive, but you should still be prepared.

NBN plans for gamers

Several Australian NBN providers – most notably MyRepublic and Aussie Broadband – offer gamer-specific plans, with extras such as static IP addresses and specialist support. Here’s some of the best gaming-ready NBN plans we think you should check out.

The following table shows a selection of published gaming-ready NBN plans from MyRepublic and Aussie Broadband on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Get in quick – 2020 will be an amazing year for gaming

There is a long list of brilliant games coming out this year that you’ll want to check out. From the Nintendo Switch to PC to PlayStation Exclusives, games this year will be full of excitement and are must-downloads. The PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X will also be coming out this year. You don’t want to miss out.

Image: ESB Professional / Shutterstock

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