The Effects of Latency on Online Madden NFL Football

The Effects of Latency on Online Madden NFL Football

James Nichols and Mark Claypool

In Proceedings of the 14th ACM International Workshop on Network and Operating Systems Support for Digital Audio and Video
Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland
June 16-18, 2004

With the growth in interactive network games comes increased importance in a better understanding of the effects of latency on game performance. While previous work has measured the effects of latency on first-person shooters and real-time strategy games, there has been no systematic investigation of the effects of latency on sports games. In this work, we study the effects of latency on online Madden NFL football, one of the most popular online sports games, through a series of carefully designed experiments in which we systematically control the latency between players. Our experiments illustrate the mechanisms Madden NFL uses to compensate for latency. Our user studies show there is little impact from latency on user performance in Madden NFL over typically low Internet latencies. However, for latencies higher than 500 ms, there is a significant impact on user performance, degrading performance by almost 30%. Our network measurements show periodic data rates during game-play with significant command aggregation at higher latencies.


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