Exploring the Online Gaming Experience in Latin America

Wednesday 29 Jul 2020 | Associate Member | Member Press Release |

Online gaming is on the rise in Latin America and all over the world. This is creating a demand for lower-latency network connections so gamers can enjoy a seamless, lag-free gameplay experience. According to data from Speedtest Intelligence® during Q2 2020, latency varied greatly across both countries and cities in the five most robust economies in Latin America, providing some gamers with an unexpected advantage. Read on for details about latency on mobile and fixed broadband in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico to see where users are likely to have the best gaming experience both nationwide and in each country’s most populous cities.

Latency, the reaction time of a connection, is a key metric in gaming. For the best gaming experience, users should look for a latency of 59 ms or less. The data below provides the mean latency for each location. Mobile latency is applicable for games played on mobile devices, while latency on fixed broadband measures latency while playing PC and console games.

Brazil had lowest latency on fixed broadband, Argentina on mobile

Ookla_Latin_America_latency_countries_0720_en

Gamers in Brazil enjoyed the lowest mean latency on fixed broadband during Q2 2020 at 19 ms. Brazil was followed by Chile, Mexico and Argentina. Colombia had the highest latency on fixed broadband during this period at 43 ms.

Recent investments in fiber all across the region resulted in improved latencies when comparing Q2 2019 and Q2 2020. Brazil showed the biggest improvement in fixed broadband latency compared to Q2 2019, decreasing from 23 ms in Q2 2019 to 19 ms in Q2 2020. Latency in Mexico also decreased, dropping from 34 ms in Q2 2019 to 31 ms in Q2 2020. The other three countries on our list experienced little to no change in latency on fixed broadband between Q2 2019 and Q2 2020.

There was less variation between countries in mobile latency during Q2 2020. Argentina had the best latency on mobile at 40 ms, followed closely by Chile at 41 ms. Colombia had the highest mobile latency during this period at 47 ms.

Mexico experienced the largest improvement in their mobile latency when comparing Q2 2019 to Q2 2020. Mobile latency improved from 57 ms in Q2 2019 to 44 ms in Q2 2020. The other countries on our list saw smaller improvements in their mobile latency during this period. In Chile, mobile latency actually increased year over year, from 38 ms in Q2 2019 to 41 ms in Q2 2020.

Deployments of 5G in the region have recently begun, including the launch of 5G DSS technology in Brazil. Though the technology is still fairly new to Latin America, it has the potential to radically improve latency over what 4G-capable devices currently offer.

Internet speeds increased during the pandemic

Having a fast internet connection is also important to gamers. We’ve been using data from Speedtest Intelligence to track internet performance at a global level during the pandemic. While some countries experienced a dip in speeds in March, on the whole, internet speeds on fixed broadband have increased in ArgentinaBrazilChileColombia and Mexico since the baseline week of March 2, 2020. Except for Chile, these countries have also experienced an increase in mobile speeds, ranging from a 2% increase in Colombia to a 19% increase in Mexico.

São Paulo had lowest fixed broadband latency, tied with Buenos Aires on mobile

Ookla_Latin_America_latency_cities_0720_en2
Fixed broadband latency in some of Latin America’s largest cities ranged from Guadalajara’s 17 ms to 45 ms in Cali. Guadalajara, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro had the lowest fixed broadband latencies on our list during Q2 2020 at 17 ms, 18 ms and 20 ms, respectively. The Colombian cities of Bogotá, Medellín and Cali showed the highest latencies over fixed broadband on our list at 38 ms, 40 ms and 45 ms, respectively. All cities on this list still showed fixed broadband latencies below 59 ms, the recommended measurement for a smooth gaming experience.

When comparing year-over-year results from Q2 2019, we saw increases in fixed broadband latency in almost all cities in Q2 2020. Cali was the only city on the list where latency improved, down from 49 in Q2 2019 to 45 ms in Q2 2020.

São Paulo and Buenos Aires tied for the lowest mobile latency on our list during Q2 2020 at 31 ms. Rio de Janeiro followed at 35 ms, respectively. Brasília, Cali and Medellín took the last three places on the list with mobile latencies of 43 ms, 48 ms and 51 ms, respectively.

Mexico City’s and São Paolo’s mobile latencies improved significantly in Q2 2020 compared to Q2 2019. Mexico City’s mobile latency decreased from 53 ms to 37 ms during the same period. In São Paolo, mobile latency decreased from 40 ms in Q2 2019 to 31 ms in Q2 2020. Only one city on our list did not show an improvement in mobile latency when comparing Q2 2019 to Q2 2020 — Santiago, where mobile latency increased from 36 ms to 40 ms during this period.

Devoted gamers in Latin America will be glad to hear that Internet speeds and mobile latency are improving in many parts of Latin America. We look forward to seeing if fixed broadband latency makes it to the next level in the near future. If you’re interested in learning more about internet performance in other parts of the world, visit Ookla InsightsTM.