All gamers know the pain of dealing with lag. A few milliseconds can be a matter of win-or-loss in a highly competitive game. Sometimes, even the best Internet speeds aren’t fast enough. That’s why Cox is rolling out “Elite Gamer,” an add-on specifically designed to reduce lag during online play.
The Internet service provider (ISP) has reportedly been testing the feature since last April in some cities. Although Elite Gamer certainly isn’t designed for everyone, it could be a nice addition for those who are serious about their online competitions.
‘Lag Made Me Lose’
Lag in gaming is tricky business. For players conveniently located near a game’s physical servers and their ISP, it likely isn’t an issue. Someone playing “Overwatch” in Irvine, California probably doesn’t even notice lag. That isn’t true for someone playing in a rural area of the Midwest. They are further away from Blizzard’s servers and likely their ISP as well.
Obviously, most people aren’t lucky enough to have a major developer’s servers as their neighbor. That means millions of gamers struggle with lag every time they log on to play.
Cox notes that its service can reduce lag by up to 32 percent. That amounts to a noticeable decrease that should make games feel snappier and smoother.
It is now offering Elite Gamer to new and existing customers in the United States for an additional $7 per month. For streamers, pro gamers, and those tired of losing because of lag, the upgrade is worth considering.
Customers using Cox’s “Panoramic Wifi Gateway” all-in-one modem and router, there will be no additional fee to use Elite Gamer. Of course, it costs $11 a month to rent the device.
As of now, Elite Gamer only supports certain titles—although the list is pretty expansive. Popular games like “League of Legends,” “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare,” “Valorant,” “CS: GO,” “Fortnite,” “Overwatch,” “PUBG,” “Apex Legends,” “Dota 2,” and “World of Warcraft” are all supported.
On top of this, Cox’s Elite Gamer website only mentions PCs. A Cox spokesperson confirmed to Gizmodo that the feature isn’t applicable to consoles.
GPNs and Esports
Elite Gamer isn’t exactly propriety technology. It is what’s known as a Gamers Private Network (GPN). A GPN attempts to route gaming-specific Internet traffic through a faster “path” in an effort to reduce lag. For players located further away from servers, the impact can be significant.
Other companies have been running GPN services for years. One of the most popular, WTFast, not only works with all games but also with consoles.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are playing and streaming online than ever before. That includes professional esports players who are competing at the highest level from home.
Now that GPNs are becoming more accessible, it will be interesting to see how they are employed. Moreover, it’s worth watching other ISPs to see if they begin offering similar services to stay competitive with Cox.