This Is How Much Data 22 Popular Online Games Chew Through

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Image: Bungie.

This article has been sponsored by Optus.

To those not all that familiar with gaming, the common misconception is that online play uses just as much data as streaming services like Netflix or Stan do. Of course, this isn’t the case unless you’re downloading full games or updates, but how much data can you expect to chew through during a decent session?

The answer varies depending on the game and can be as low as 3MB per hour up to a heftier 300MB per hour. It may not sound like much, but it all certainly adds up, especially for those with tight data allowances. For example, if we do the maths on a 300MB per hour session (Destiny 2 is a good example of a game that requires this amount of data), if you played online for two to three hours per day, you’re looking at roughly 4.2GB to 6.3GB per week, which equates to around 16.8GB to 25.2GB per month.

If you couple this with video streaming (which can use between 1GB and 3GB of data per hour) and other internet usages, a 50GB or even 100GB monthly data allowance can be wiped out pretty easily.

This is a fairly high-usage example, and not all games use quite as much as Destiny 2 does. Our friends over at telco comparison site WhistleOut have crunched the numbers on a bunch of games and how much data they use per hour of online play. I’ve ordered them from highest to lowest below.

sony warframe
  • Destiny 2 – 300MB/hr
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – 250MB/hr
  • Overwatch – 135MB/hr
  • Dota 2 – 120MB/hr
  • Warframe – 115MB/hr
  • Fortnite – 100MB/hr
  • Battlefield V – 100MB/hr
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 – 80MB/hr
  • Team Fortress 2 – 80MB/hr
  • Rainbow Six Siege – 70MB/hr
  • Teamfight Tactics – 60MB/hr
  • Grand Theft Auto V Online – 60MB/hr
  • League of Legends – 45MB/hr
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) – 40MB/hr
  • Call of Duty: World War II – 40MB/hr
  • World of Warcraft – 40MB/hr
  • Rocket League – 40MB/hr
  • Minecraft – 40MB/hr
  • Monster Hunter: World – 30MB/hr
  • Sea of Thieves – 30MB/hr
  • Final Fantasy XIV – 20MB/hr
  • Hearthstone – 3MB/hr

Where gaming hits your data the hardest is the initial download. As games get larger and more detailed, the total size of their files can swell to 100GB or more. Red Dead Redemption 2, for example, clocks in at 89GB, while Call of Duty‘s Warzone will slug you with a 101GB download if you don’t already have the latest Modern Warfare patch.

The obvious solution is to go with a plan that offers unlimited data so you don’t have to worry about hitting your cap or being charged for extra usage, but these kinds of plans can get pricey. Some telcos offer alternatives that cater to gamers, like Optus’ Unlimted Data Days*, for example, which allows you to pay an additional $5 for each day you’d like to activate the add-on. As the name suggests, these days grant you unlimited data, which is perfect for tethering for big games or even just big weekend sessions.

It’s also a good option if you’re approaching your data cap. Given you’d be charged $10 for going over, $5 is a good way to split that cost and get more out of it.

Whichever way you accommodate gaming data, it’s good to have options for those particularly heavy download months (Cyberpunk 2077 in November, anyone?)

*For use on mobile phone devices in Australia only. Fair Go Policy applies. Not for commercial use. Add on may be withdrawn from sale without notice. Full terms and conditions here.

Comments

    • maybe the amount of data constantly being thrown back and forward, and saved constantly? Things like Gambit has to constantly track each mote and each person in the activity, then add loot drops in, then whatever else is created like orbs plus all the big battles, surely the large scale mobs all require information constantly going back and forward… ALSO Overwatch has half of Destinys totally yet it has none of the above. For me it doent seem like a stretch.

    • I play a lot of D2, and looking at my internet usage for late night when nothing much more than me gaming is going on, that 300 MB is pretty accurate, average does seem to be about 250 MB, with it been pretty evenly split between down and upload.

    • I’d expect it’s because it’s mostly a peer to peer game, so it’s sending and receiving most things multiple times between players in the same party/instance to sync world state (each player is communicating this data to multiple others, as well as Bungie’s servers – in a server-based game, this would only ever be communicated with/via the server, so the amount of data used would be lower as each piece of information would only be communicated once).

  • How does Minecraft do 40MB/hr? It only connects online when you download an update and/or login, doesn’t it? I don’t believe it uses the same amount of data that WoW or PUBG does, both of which constantly talk to servers. That is just weird.

  • lol, this is an old topic to be depating, had this issue since was first able to access internet at all, even the so called top plan didn’t have a big enough data. What should be considered normal is unlimited data since everything requires internet access to be able to use (ie online media/banking/game access).

  • “the common misconception is that online play uses just as much data as streaming services like Netflix or Stan do.” Well, in terms of pure online play it is but with the growing trend of game streaming then it’s more accurate.

  • The CSGO amount can vary either way depending on the tick rate of the server you are playing on.

    If its a high tickrate server that amount will increase.

    • About 600-800mb hour, when I was playing, but I reckon if you were spending more time around highly congested airports/cities it would be a bit more (because there’s greater IRL traffic data streaming in than, say, landing at Mittagong Airport).

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