The Effects of Network Latency on Competitive First-Person Shooter Game Players

Esports gamers, and competitive gamers more broadly, want low network latency to maximize their chances of winning – in general, the lower the network latency, the less time between a player’s action and the intended outcome. But how much small reductions in network latency benefit competitive players is not known. This paper presents results from a 25person user study that evaluates the impact of network latency on experienced Counter-strike: Global Offensive players. Analysis of the results shows pronounced benefits to player performance (accuracy and score) for even small reductions in network latency, with subjective opinions on Quality of Experience (QoE) following suit. Latency compensation – a software technique to mitigate the effects of latency – significantly improves player performance and QoE.
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