Virgin Media to offer faster broadband for gamers

Billy Bambrough
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Games like Call of Duty have developed huge online communities (Source: Getty)

Virgin Media is taking a niche approach to growing its broadband subscription base.

From tomorrow the internet service provider will offer customers the UK’s first broadband tier designed specifically for online gamers.

The extra upload speed – up to 20Mbps – will be an add-on to Virgin Media’s current top broadband package and cost £5 per month.

Gamers are increasingly choosing to stream live games on services such as YouTube and Twitch for other players to watch.

Read more: Here's how important video games are to the UK's economy

Last year on Twitch alone users streamed 241bn minutes of video - or 459,000 years' worth. This works out at around 20bn minutes of video per month, up from 16bn in 2014.

Amazon started a trend for e-gaming in 2014 after it bought Twitch for nearly $1bn (£760,000).

Earlier this month tech giant Microsoft – fresh from snapping up LinkedIn in a $26bn deal – has acquired Beam, a Seattle-based startup which live streams video games.

It's not the first time Microsoft has acquired its way into gaming. It bought up the hugely popular developer of Minecraft for $2.5bn in 2014.

Gregor McNeil, consumer managing director at Virgin Media said:

VIVID 200 Gamer takes our leading ultrafast broadband to boss-mode levels. We understand the frustrations when it comes to lag, disconnects and bandwidth issues, so right from the start we wanted to design a tier that builds on our superior connectivity to give gamers and streamers what they need.

With the fastest speeds and reliable connectivity, this is broadband built for gamers.

Research from Ofcom has shown that in 2015, four in ten (41 per cent) internet users have played games online, with close to one in four (23 per cent) internet users doing so weekly.

Read more: Gamestop sales fail to impress shoppers

This weekly gaming figure rises to almost four in ten (39 per cent) internet users amongst 16-24 year olds.

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