How Much Data Does Online Gaming Use?

How much is your monthly quota for broadband allowance? If you, or a member of your family is an avid online gamer, this question is very important.

But first … to the question of, how much data online gaming uses? It can be anywhere from 10MB per hour to more than 300MB per hour. That is quite a broad range, but as you will see here, different games have varying features.

Downloading an online game is no easy feat. It can guzzle through your monthly data allowance in no time. Therefore, playing the game online is the most preferred method to save data. Even buying your game in a disk is not too helpful. You still have to go online to make frequent updates. Data usage for making such patches and updates is quite extravagant.

What determines how much data online gaming uses?

Many dynamics determine how you consume data when playing online games.

You can play a massively multiplayer game online and spend less data than you would when streaming an HD movie on Netflix. However, this can change depending on whether you are playing the game alone, or with other players.

For some MMORPG games, you can spend as little as 10MB of data when playing online alone. However, even this differs greatly from game to game. For example, research shows that playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive can cost you up to 250MB per hour. Shooter game Destiny can cost you up to 1GB of data per hour of live play.

Single player games

Although some gaming enthusiasts say that single player games are over, there still exist several of them. Single player online games do not consume much data. However, if the nature of the game is community-based but you are playing it alone, it can still consume a lot of data. You will realize a big bump in data usage when you play a game with a group, or with another player as opposed to when you play it alone.

Voice over internet protocol

Many online games have VOIP chat. Of course, voice transmission (your own voice and the voice of the other players) is going to consume data. The data consumed in voice transmission also depends on the program that the game uses.

Skype is one of the data guzzlers when you are playing an online game. It can consume up to 45MB per hour for a single person. Therefore, the data consumed increases with the increase of the number of people engaged in the chat.

Examples of online games and their data usage

On the low end of the spectrum, you will find online games such as Rocket League, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds and World of Warcraft, which can consume less than 40MB of data per hour. Rainbow Six Siege and Team Fortress 2 can consume between 50MB and 100MB per hour.

Online games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, DOTA 2, Warframe and Fortnite can use upto, or even more than 100MB per hour of play.

Tickrate and frame rate

Low frame rate consumes low data since it does not refresh the game too often and vice versa. The tickrate of the game server also determines how much data you consume while playing. Higher tickrate means that the server refreshes the game quite often. For example, a tickrate of 200 means the server refreshes the game at the rate of 200 times in one second.

Patches and updates consume data

Even online games require patches and updates. The update/patch can be small, in megabytes or it can be quite big, sometimes running to even more than 5GB. This consumes a lot of data, which you must consider when determining how much data online gaming consumes.

Digital platforms make automatic updates to games so that all players can be on the same level. Depending on the amount of patching needed, this could consume a lot of data. Patches can use data equivalent to many hours of playing the same game online.


When you are playing FPS, MMORPG, RPG or any other online game, data consumption is a big concern for you. Hopefully, this short post gives you an idea of what to expect. Our data consumption estimate for playing different online games is between 10MB and 300MB per hour. With this information, you can decide the best data plan to subscribe for.

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