Games generally have come a long way; gone are the days of multiplayer games looking like something totally brand new and only really working with Bluetooth or your friends having to manually come over.
Now, multiplayer experiences are a very core part of gaming; basically every game now has some multiplayer function in there somewhere.
But one of the major elements of online multiplayer games are pings, so what exactly is ping in gaming?
In gaming, ping is used to describe the delay between a player’s input and the server’s response to those inputs.
This delay is called a ping; a lower ping is always better than a higher one, as a lesser ping means less delays between the game and the servers, hence faster response time and a smoother gameplay experience.
A lag, on the other hand, is a spike in the time it takes for an action to get to the game servers and be registered, or for a message from the game server to be registered on your device.
Ping is measured in milliseconds, which is shortened to “MS”. Your game will display your ping to you on your game screen, mostly in the right top corner.
A ping of 15ms or less is considered the best, anywhere between 15 – 45ms is playable, above 100ms is not good at all, it will affect your gameplay, anything above 250ms is trash.
If you play with this ping, your game input will take a huge amount of time before it carries out and your opponent will capitalize on this and gain the upper hand before you even realize online games like Fortnite, League of Legends, and Call of Duty rely heavily on ping to make sure the smoothness of the games.
MMOs and RTS do not really rely too much on pings, while some games even barely suffer from high pings.
How Does Ping Affect Online Gaming?
First, how does a gamer suffer from high ping?
Well, this can be due to a lot of reasons, one of the majors being network issues, when you are on a slower network you ping becomes higher, or when there’s no game server in your region, for example league of Legends doesn’t have an African game server, playing on a North American server from Africa will lead to tremendously high ping and will affect your games no doubt.
If you notice an unusual effect in your games, especially slow response from your characters, or when you shoot and your bullet doesn’t make sounds of effect until seconds later, this could be an indicator of a high ping, you can always check your ping indicator, as most games always display ping or sometimes warn you when your ping gets higher.
Ok, Can I Lower My Ping in Games?
First, we need to understand something, as we mentioned earlier, they can be two major reasons as to why you get high pings in your games, first being the location i.e., the distance between you and the game servers, which means the closer you are to the server, the less ping you’ll get, and your network issues, this is where you can have some control.
If you don’t have a good internet connection, you are going to sometimes experience high pings.
Heavy house hold network activity can cause your network to experience a significant decrease in signal strength.
This is because your network connection is a limited resource, and if there’s heavy traffic on your network, your game traffic may not get transmitted reliably.
Using Wi-Fi is also not recommended, as Wi-Fi tends to bounce, creating unstable traffic; an ethernet cable is recommended, since cabled internet is known to be more stable.
Sometimes, third-party software is always used to reduce gaming pings, although sometimes some software isn’t entirely tested and trusted.
Most of them just reduce network traffic and help shut down background apps that are using bandwidth behind the scenes.
We advise you to be careful when using third party software and make sure they are from a verifiable source; you can always check reviews before downloading.