Virgin Media has announced a broadband tier designed for online gamers. Recombu’s Ben Griffin investigates what exactly ‘Vivid 200 Gamer’ entails.
If there is one aspect of computing that really needs a fast internet connection, it is online gaming. Just a few milliseconds can mean the difference between killing and being killed in the likes of Call of Duty and other fast-paced games.
It is, therefore, odd that we have had to wait this long for a gaming-specific tariff from Virgin Media, but Vivid 200 Gamer is exactly that. So how can you get it, what is the cos, will it make much difference and when is it out? Read on.
Virgin Media Vivid 200 Gamer: What exactly is it?
Virgin Media’s Vivid 200 Gamer gets its name from the fact it offers download speeds of up to 200Mbps. It is an addon and not a standalone broadband package and as such it is added to an existing service where possible.
Why is Vivid 200 Gamer potentially good for gaming?
Because the download speed is very high and the upload speed is increased to 20Mbps, up from the standard Vivid 200 package’s 12Mbps, Vivid 200 Gamer should be better for streaming content via the likes of Twitch and YouTube Gaming.
Virgin Media also says ‘online gamers can look forward to lower pings and latency, giving them a competitive edge over laggy opponents’. Exactly how much better Vivid 200 Gamer will be compared with Vivid 200 is unclear. but on paper it should be superior for upload-specific tasks such as live streaming.
Vivid 200 Gamer: Is there a download cap?
Nope. Virgin Media states Vivid 200 Gamer has no download cap so you can stream yourself showing noobs how it is done as much as you want. It also means you can watch other players streaming content until your eyes bleed, which is a good thing when Twitch users alone streamed 241 billion minutes of video (or 459,000 years) of video in 2015. Those who regularly download a lot of
porn files will also avoid being penalised.
Vivid 200 Gamer: What about traffic management?
Anyone who plays a lot of video games online will know there are certain times during the day when you go from winning every deathmatch to suddenly being helpless as seemingly every opponent gets 20 seconds longer to kill you. This can be the result of traffic management.
Currently, upload speeds are restricted by 50 per cent for an hour if you upload anything beyond 2.25GB. That is about 90 minutes of Twitch at its highest 3.5Mbps quality setting so not exactly ideal.
Virgin Media confirmed to Recombu that traffic management is removed for the Vivid 200 Gamer package (and that includes for uploads), which effectively means you are paying extra to ensure your connection is faster for more of the time.
How much does Vivid 200 Gamer cost?
Vivid 200 Gamer costs an extra £5 on top of the Vivid 200 tariff. No phone is required and it is offered as an 18-month contract, priced at £50.25 a month. A student-oriented contract runs for nine months and costs £52 a month.
Broadband and phone, meanwhile, costs £30 a month for 12 months and £39 thereafter for new customers in addition to a line rental charge of £17.99 per month (going up to £19 from the 1st of November) and an activation fee of £14.99.
When can I get Vivid 200 Gamer?
From the 1st of September, 2016. Best to give Virgin Media a call or pop into a store for more information and to add it to your existing package if you have one already.
Vivid 200 Gamer: So is it worth it?
We will need to test Vivid 200 Gamer out to see if the increased upload and lack of traffic management really make much difference and just how consistent it is when it comes to upload and download speeds, latency and ping.
Only a small increase in speed and reliability could easily be justified in the mind of someone who plays a lot of competitive multiplayer, while we can see a lot of broadband users fronting up the extra fiver for the benefit of zero traffic management.