Enjoy candy canes and online games this Christmas with full fibre

City communications

Enjoy candy canes and online games this Christmas with full fibre

4 December 2020

Ever since the first generation of video game consoles came out in the 1970s, gaming has increasingly become a key part of Christmas for many families.

Many original gamers, now north of forty, will still remember coming downstairs to find their first console under the tree. This year, a new generation will experience the same excitement with the launch of the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X dominating many of Santa’s wish lists.

With both consoles being among this year’s hottest gifts, we’re likely to see a massive rush to get online once the wrapping paper has been torn away. It means households across the UK are going to see a huge surge in home broadband data demands. Often these consoles will need a day one patch to get them booted up, and then you’ll need the bandwidth to download additional content. This is all before you ever get online to play the game!

For legacy networks, this could result in long delays when you spend more time waiting for things to download than you do playing the games themselves. However, this is just one of the reasons CityFibre is rolling out full fibre broadband across the UK, helping to eliminate these issues and give everyone the perfect online gaming experience. A full fibre network means you don’t have this crunch and you can start enjoying the console far faster.

What kind of demand will we see at Christmas?

Over the years, the UK’s love affair with gaming has only grown stronger and worldwide, the industry is worth more than movies, TV and music combined. Last year, over fifteen million consoles were sold in this country, and, with both Sony and Microsoft launching their next generation of consoles – the PS5 and the Xbox Series X and Series S - we can expect to see more records tumble as people upgrade to the very latest in gaming tech. Part of the reason for such super sales is the huge expansion of the gaming market (a whopping 2.5 billion people play video games every day), and its broad appeal to everyone; from young kids to 90-year-olds like Hamako Mori, Japan’s ‘Gamer Grandma’.

The last generation of consoles triggered a significant platform shift, with games now being played predominantly online and “always on”, which means, of course, they have to be connected to the internet. This has led to the formation of massive online communities, also known as clans, where people regularly meet, chat, and then game together. As we might expect, this trend has grown over the past nine months with so many of us being stuck at home during the pandemic. Indeed, gaming has been a source of valuable social connections at a time of significant restrictions to our day-to-day activities. Ultimately, gaming can link families, friends and like-minded people across the world. It’s all about connections, and not just the digital kind!

Christmas traditions: in VR

Regardless of age, the social aspect of gaming shouldn’t be overlooked and is particularly important at Christmas, a time when we want to be with the ones we love, even if they’re scattered around the world. However, just because you can’t be in the same physical place, you can still spend time together doing one of the most Christmassy activities of all – a snowball fight!

Thanks to VR games like Merry Snowballs, played through Oculus Rift, you can now challenge your friends and family to compete for prizes and bragging rights on FaceTime, wherever they are in the world. Or, if that’s a little too energetic, perhaps a more relaxing catch-up aboard Santa’s sleigh would be better. Whatever way you want to connect this Christmas, gaming and VR has got you covered.

Lag: the new Christmas Grinch

With Christmas right around the corner, the excitement of all these new gaming and VR experiences is tangible. Yet there’s nothing worse than trying to play an online game or spend some virtual time with the family when the internet keeps dropping out or lagging. And, particularly with the new generation of consoles, the complexity and bandwidth needed to run the latest games is quickly outstripping our existing digital infrastructure capacity. Indeed, in the days following the launch of the new Xbox and Call of Duty franchise this November, broadband traffic reached record-breaking peaks.

Using today’s average broadband connection, it takes nearly 17 hours to download a game like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in this country. As the size of games increases, these delays could get even longer, which is one of the reasons why CityFibre is looking to roll out full fibre broadband across the UK. Unlike some fibre broadband services which are actually part copper, 100% full fibre broadband offers gigabit speeds and virtually limitless bandwidth, meaning that no matter how big or data-intensive a game is, you’ll have the connection to run it seamlessly. Full fibre is also more reliable than traditional connectivity infrastructure, so there’s no need to worry about losing your connection at a vital moment.

From a gaming perspective, it’s been amazing to watch how, in a few short decades, the industry has evolved beyond all recognition from playing Doom on MS-DOS or Goldeneye on the N64. Modern games are at the cutting edge of graphic design and digital realism. And we deserve to enjoy these latest releases as they were intended, which means having an internet infrastructure that is fit for purpose in the 21st century...and beyond.

This year, video game revenues are expected to top $90bn, and as the medium continues to evolve in terms of complexity, graphics, features and platforms (many new gaming experiences don’t even need a console), data consumption and broadband traffic is only going to grow. And, if the industry is going to continue to be the success story it is today, two factors will be key: low latency and symmetrical bandwidth (same upload and download speeds).

Full fibre connections, therefore, will enable the best gaming experiences we’ve ever seen.

To find out if you can connect your home to full fibre, visit www.cityfibre.com/Xmas