The launch of the new Xbox consoles on Tuesday caused a record demand for broadband data, according to some of the UK’s leading internet service providers.
Many console users, whether using the Xbox Series X or the digital-only Series S, will have downloaded enormous video game files, with preloads for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War coming in at 136GB.
The big four ISPs all said they were able to handle the spike in traffic, though they face another challenge when the PlayStation 5 is launched in the UK on Thursday 19 November.
Both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X are available for £450 in the UK, and their prices match each other in every other territory they’re being sold in too.
A huge range of games are available to download for both, and with COVID-19 keeping many consumers at home rather than visiting shops to buy hard copies, the demand on broadband traffic is expected to be significant.
Even for gamers who were using discs on Tuesday, there were a number of updates available for download across a different titles which contributed to the record levels of traffic.
This isn’t necessarily something new. According to BT, the Call of Duty games have regularly resulted in increased broadband traffic, with the release of Call of Duty: Warzone Season 4 in June providing the last spike.
At its peak, BT said users were downloading 18 terabits per second (Tbps), something which was “comfortable within the network’s capacity” according to a spokesperson.
Virgin Media said its users downloaded 108 petabytes of data, equivalent to more than the entire written works of mankind, ever, in all languages, including Albanian fan-fiction about the Twilight films – twice.
Openreach, which handles the infrastructure for network providers, said that while individual ISPs may have experienced record days, it had not itself seen the highest ever figure – which came back on 5 August, when season five of Call of Duty: Warzone and Modern Warfare went live.