Gaming is up during the Coronavirus pandemic. Way up.
A recent report found that gaming Internet traffic increased by as much as 75 percent since March, when most of the country went into lockdown and quarantine. It’s a stat that shouldn’t surprise anyone. There are only so many things to do in the home—home renovation projects, baking sourdough bread, making TikTok videos, and playing video games.
In fact, you’ve probably been on the sticks or the MKB so much that you’ve hit a plateau, a wall that separates you from getting even better at your favorite game. If you’ve reached your own limits during quarantine, here are a few ways to take gaming to the next level.
Improve Lag & Latency
When milliseconds matter and the margins for error are razor-thin, poor latency can mean the difference between a win and a loss. If you’re wondering, “what is latency,” the tl;dr is this—it’s the time it takes your computer to send information to the server and from the server to your computer. Latency is so quick that it’s literally measured in milliseconds, but even 100ms or more can deliver a poor gaming experience.
Here are a couple of ways to check and improve yours:
- Run a ping test, like SpeetTest.net, to see your speed.
- Use an ethernet cable if you can, or consider upgrading your modem and router if they’re old.
- Don’t run other programs while you game. If you’re on console, make sure laptops and phones aren’t downloading anything around the house.
- Update the settings on your computer, router, modem, and/or console.
Upgrade Your Refresh Rate
For years, we all gamed on monitors running at 60 Hz—the standard refresh rate that can display 60 frames per second. While gaming PC’s can crank out much more than 60 fps, it was the standard speed for every older console. Now, 144 Hz or even 240 Hz monitors are widespread throughout the market. Upgrading from 60 Hz to 144 or 240 is like giving up your horse to drive a car.
And if you think a high refresh rate doesn’t matter for consoles, know this: the Xbox Series X and Playstation 5 will support high-refresh gaming when they launch.
For PC: Buy a Mechanical Keyboard
It’s such an essential piece of PC gaming equipment that it’s practically a meme, but it’s popular for a reason. Mechanical keyboards, while pricey, offer a tactile experience the membrane keyboards can’t offer. When you need ultra-precision in your movements, feeling that click underneath your finger prevents a misstep while chasing down enemies. Mechanical keyboards range from reasonable in price to ultra-expensive and custom, but you can buy one for less than $100.
For Consoles: Buy a Better Controller
Both Sony and Microsoft make a great default controller, but you can do better. Take the Xbox Elite 2, for example. It’s a masterclass in gaming controllers and, while not cheap at $180, delivers an insane amount of customization and premium toggles, buttons, and triggers. The extra triggers in the back make is especially useful for FPS players wanting to assign custom actions like tossing a frag or replacing armor plates.
Whether it’s a faster internet connection, razor-sharp display, or improved hardware, you haven’t reached your full potential just yet. Get after a few of these upgrades and add a couple more wins to the column.