Internet Speed Test and Gaming

After checking your internet speed here, it might be useful to drive into some history of how internet speeds have grown over the years, especially when it comes to how they relate to online gaming! Let's begin.

Right now, using a mid-level provider in a major Canadian city, I average roughly 10-15 Mbps for my online speed. Most providers recommend, depending the platform and the game itself, speeds of 3-8 Mbps to avoid lag and frame rate issues. But what did it used to be like?

In 1993, if you were playing over a 56 Kbps modem online, you would only be able to play with the simplest, smallest programs with other players online -- and that was even with some substantial slowdown and lag issues.

Games like Doom and Quake soon saw substantial multiplayer communities emerge through LAN (Local Area Network) parties, where computers were connected directly to a serve gaming companies emerged with their own online gaming servers and software to facilitate online play (Blizzard Software with their radically successful Battle.net. and id Software with their own QuakeSpy), and this led to a massive popularization of online gaming, as well as the direct creation of popular arena shooters like the Half Life mod Team Fortress, and my personal favorite Unreal Tournament.

Online play joined the consoles with the online fun with an introduction by Sega in...the 1990s. That's right, in Japan and Brazil Sega introduced the Sega MegaNet to provide online play for the Mega Drive, which was followed up by the SegaNet for the Saturn, and later the Dreamcast in the US. It was the SegaNet in the US that was heralded as the first of its kind, and remains part of the console's enduring legacy to this day.