How Much Data Does Online Gaming Use?

If you’re an online gamer, how much data do you use each hour or month? Find out more here.

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, updated on September 22nd, 2023       

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Online gaming has become a staple in the world of entertainment, but have you ever wondered how much data it consumes? Whether you're a casual gamer or a dedicated player, understanding the data usage of your favourite online games can be crucial, especially if you have limited data on your internet plan.

In Savvy’s comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the factors that influence data consumption during online gaming. Learn about how much of your plan may be used up each time you sit down in front of your PC, PS4 or another console with us today!

How much data does online gaming use per hour?

The data usage of online gaming can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the game itself, the platform you're using and the game's data intensity. On average, online gaming typically consumes anywhere from 20MB to 300MB per hour or more. If you play for two hours a day on average, this can work out to be between 1.2GB and 18GB per month.

Here's a breakdown:

  • Small games: less data-intensive games tend to use between 5MB to 50MB per hour or less. These games have lower graphical demands and minimal online interaction. Popular games such as Hearthstone (3MB), Final Fantasy XIV (20MB), Minecraft (40MB) and World of Warcraft (40MB) all fall into this category.
  • Standard online games: many popular online games may consume between 50MB and 150MB per hour. These games have moderate graphics and frequent online interaction and include Fortnite (100MB), Battlefield V (100MB) and Dota 2 (135MB).
  • Data-intensive games: graphically demanding and immersive games can use up to 200MB or more per hour. These games often feature detailed environments, high-quality textures, and intense online multiplayer action. Destiny 2 is one of the most data-heavy at 300MB per hour, while Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (250MB) isn’t far behind.

Keep in mind that these are all general estimates and your actual data usage may vary. Additionally, games that constantly update or stream content may use more data.

How much data will it take to download an online video game or updates?

The size of game downloads and updates varies widely based on the title and platform. Smaller mobile games might be around 100MB, while full AAA titles for consoles or PC can be 50GB or larger, sometimes approaching 100GB. Updates and patches can also range from a few megabytes to several gigabytes.

It's important to note, however, that the size of games can differ depending on the console you’re buying. For example, a PC game may be less data-heavy than its PS4 or Xbox One equivalent.

What type of internet plan is best for online gaming?

For online gaming, there are several factors to consider when choosing your internet plan. Look for the following:

  • Low latency: a low ping or latency is crucial for smooth online gaming. Plans with low latency are ideal.
  • Stable connection: a reliable, consistent connection is essential to avoid dropouts during gaming sessions.
  • High or unlimited data: online gaming can consume vast amounts of data if you’re a prolific gamer, so unlimited data plans can help if you’re in this boat. Most home internet plans come with unlimited data these days, however.
  • High speed: if you’re playing data-intensive games, having suitable internet speeds can be crucial, particularly if you’re sharing the internet with other users in your home.
  • Quality of Service (QoS): some providers offer gaming-specific plans with optimised routes for gaming traffic, reducing lag.

The best type of internet plan for gaming ultimately depends on your needs as a gamer. If you mainly stick to mobile games, for instance, the ideal plan is likely to be far different than one for someone who frequently plays online console games.

In terms of reliability, NBN plans and those with fixed line connections are considered better than home wireless broadband, as the connection type is less prone to interference and congestion. However, home wireless broadband can still deliver good speeds and serve their purpose for gamers.

How does much data does streaming use compared to online gaming?

Even the most data-intensive games use up much less data than streaming services in most cases. In the case of internet plans with Netflix, you can use up to 1GB per hour for standard definition (SD) streaming and 3GB for high definition (HD). If you wish to stream in 4K, this can come in at 7GB per hour or over 20 times more than the most demanding video games. Because of this, if you're concerned about data usage, online gaming is generally a more data-friendly option compared to streaming video content.

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Savvy is partnered with Econnex Comparison (CIMET Sales Pty Ltd, ABN 72 620 395 726) to provide readers with a variety of internet plans to compare. We do not compare all retailers in the market, or all plans offered by all retailers. Savvy earns a commission from Econnex each time a customer buys an internet plan via our website. We don’t arrange for products to be purchased directly, as all purchases are conducted via Econnex.

Any advice presented above is general in nature and doesn’t consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing an internet plan. For further information on the variety of internet plans compared by Econnex, or how their business works, you can visit their website.