ADSL internet makes PC Gaming almost unbearable in modern Australia (and other first world problems)

In 2018, most new releases across the board from AAA video game titles are around 40 gigabytes in size. This is huge when you consider that games were much lower not too long ago. Skyrim was only 6GB when it was released in 2011. Assassins Creed II was 8GB in 2010, and Crysis was 7GB in 2007!

It’s also completely understandable; graphics quality, and the ability to make massive, interactive universes, has improved a great deal over the past decade, and it has been incredible. But , with all of that improvement over time come larger file sizes. This means, for us over here in Australia, we are once again getting the fuzzy end of the lollypop, especially those playing on PC. There’s  nothing inherently wrong with games being greater in file size. It’s that Australia’s internet infrastructure has totally failed to keep pace with their growing size and now we find ourselves in a bit of a bind when compared to even our closest neighbouring countries.

Politically, the need for faster internet in Australia was never truly understood until recently. The National Broadband Network (NBN), proposed by the Gillard-led Labor government and mangled by the Abbott-led Liberal-National government as a cost cutting measure, is finally starting to make glacially slow progress.

A lot of Australia is still dominated by the aging ADSL copper wire network which is bad enough, but it also has the effect of making things very tough for gaming and people who enjoy it.

I’ve never lived in a house with ADSL internet where its speed hasn’t been an issue for me at some point. The highest download speed I’ve gotten living in a place with ADSL internet is 2.3MB/s, and that’s in Sydney’s Inner West. I’ve had them as low as 1.5MB/s on the NSW Central Coast.

Before you go off at me on Twitter, I completely agree that these speeds are manageable. You can play a solid game of Overwatch with these speeds, but you need to expect it to drop out, and you can’t use apps like like Spotify, Youtube, Twitch, Facebook or Twitter in the background, otherwise it’ll lag out. Heaven help you if someone in the house gets on Netflix while you’re trying to play.

Here’s something that makes it even more difficult — on PC, the physical standard for games is still DVD’s, and considering game file sizes in 2018, and the need for Day 1 updates, games require a range of discs to install. Far Cry 5 needed 5 discs to completely install on PC. In a bizarre way, we’ve found our way back to floppy disks because the internet is so bad.

It’s doable, but keep this in mind for the future if you think that’s viable; Assassins Creed Odyssey launched this year without a physical edition for PC. That means if you wanted the game for PC, you would have had to purchase it on either Uplay, Origin or Steam.

So what are some solutions?

A solution I found in trying to download games and updates was to go to places with internet I can download from — thankfully my brothers internet is NBN, so if I need to download something I can save it for then. UTS’ internet is freely accessible to students as well, which is great for updates.

Do also consider why you need a PC for gaming. I’ll forever be a lover of PC gaming, however, I feel if I’m after a strong narrative from my games, and I don’t have a great demand for online play, it looks as if the Playstation has cornered the market, with releases like The Last of Us, God of War, The Amazing Spiderman and Horizon: Zero Dawn. 

If you’re in demand of intense indie games or strategy, with a need for key binds and team chat, PC is probably your best bet.

So if you play on PC, or if you’re thinking of playing on PC, in Australia, keep your mind on the internet quality of the place you’re living in, and keep in mind the reasons you’re playing on PC.

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Zachariah Kelly

A Journo from Sydney who loves looking into the why's who's and what's of Video Games.