Gamers Aren’t Happy About Starlink’s Performance – Elon Musk Vows To Focus On Gaming Improvements

Starlink is providing high speed internet to millions of customers that previously didn’t have any other options. A lot of these customers are gamers, eager to finally be able to download large games, stream on Twitch, and reliably connect to multiplayer servers.

Starlink internet specs make it ideal for gaming, at least on the surface. Their website advertises fast download speeds, respectable upload speeds, and low latency for their Standard service plan and equipment. It should be great internet for gaming, but there are some major issues, according to gamers posting to online Starlink communities and social media.

Gamers are frustrated with Starlink’s performance

If you spend time around the various Facebook and Reddit Starlink communities, you see a constant stream of concerns and questions about gaming performance. Early on in Starlink’s history, it was easy to brush these concerns off as growing pains, or issues that would eventually be fixed through software updates. But recently, the frequency and amount of complaints has dramatically increased.

This meme about gaming, posted in the Starlink subreddit on Reddit, is a top post from the last week:

These kinds of posts are not uncommon. Typically, the complaints are excused as Wifi issues, obstructions, or issues with specific game titles. But recently, the concerns about gaming have been getting more attention and receiving more upvotes, as more and more Starlink customers experience the problems for themselves.

“My packet loss and outages have been through the roof for a while now. I mainly play competitive games and have been getting about 5%-30% packet loss non-stop with occasional disconnects even while playing outside of peak hours. Any ideas for a fix or is this just the way it’s gonna be?”

u/Bonecrusher-428 on Reddit

“I can do speed tests and have really low latency, and great download. When I play games I have a low ping but constant packet loss. Has anyone had a similar issue?”

u/Twenty1Chromos on Reddit

Latency is complicated

The tough thing about latency is that it is much more than just the time it takes for data to go from one place to another. That’s the surface level definition, but there are other factors, like packet loss, jitter, and stability over time. When you run a quick speed test, you might see a good latency number, but that doesn’t necessarily result in good gaming performance.

One analogy I like to use is typing speed. If you only look at the rate at which someone types on a keyboard, that’s not a complete picture. What if a person with good typing speed misspells 10% of the words? Although the typing rate is good, communication will be poor overall as a result of the significant errors. Latency is similar, where the measured speed can be good, but the amount of errors in the data results in a poor experience. This is often referred to as packet loss.

If you read enough of the online gaming complaints from Starlink customers on social media, you notice a pattern. Most are complaining about things like packet loss and latency spikes. These issues cannot be measured through a simple speed test latency number.

Online gaming is a great way to reveal issues with packet loss and ping stability. When you game online, data is constantly going back and forth from the customer to the game server, testing both upload and download latency performance. If your internet connection can’t maintain good latency stability, or there are lots of errors, your gaming experience will be affected.

See also: Median Starlink Latency and Ping Times

Elon Musk vows to focus on gaming and streaming

The complaints about gaming aren’t going unnoticed by Starlink or its CEO, Elon Musk. Musk, an avid gamer himself, posted to X recently about the issue.

Musk also vowed to improve latency performance, with a goal of getting it below 20 ms.

Musk’s posts on X come as Starlink started selling their newest Gen 3 dish. The Gen 3 Standard kit comes with an improved Wifi router for better range and speeds. It also has two built in Ethernet ports, so gamers can connect their PC’s and gaming consoles directly to the router for better performance.

SpaceX’s focus on improving gaming and streaming performance for Starlink will be welcome news for gamers. Musk did not elaborate on how Starlink plans to improve gaming for customers. Beyond continuing to launch more satellites and built more ground stations, Starlink also has the ability to modify routing over its network. These adjustments are all done in backend systems, but also through frequent software updates for user equipment.

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