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Why you should never play on wifi if you can avoid it, as explained by a fighting game dev

(Image credit: Lab Zero Games)

If you play competitive games over a wifi connection, you may rethink your setup after you watch this video.

The video, created by Skullgirls designer Mike "Mike Z" Zaimont, is a response to a longrunning question amongst fighting game diehards and competitive gamers of all types: if your internet is fast enough, does it matter whether you have a wired or wifi connection? The answer, as Zaimont demonstrates through both backend server logs and gameplay footage, is a resounding "God yes, please play wired if you can".

Folks have been going back and forth on whether wifi is suitable for online games since the dawn of time, which is why it's so valuable to get this perspective from somebody who works on a real, live, online game. Zaimont was also a major contender in the fighting game community before he went over to the other side, so that helps too.

Zaimont does a good job breaking down his findings without delving too deep into technical language - and explaining it where necessary - but here's the gist: though speed tests may say your wifi device's connection is mega-fast, that's only important up to a point. The problem is that it will never be as stable as a wired connection.

You probably won't notice if you're browsing the internet, streaming video, or even playing slower paced online games such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons. When keeping all the players synced up for split-second inputs and reactions is important, however, an occasional bout of instability can throw the whole thing into disarray. You'd be better served with a consistent, moderately speedy connection than a hyper-fast connection on wifi.

There are all kinds of reasons why you might not be able to play with a wired connection, and Zaimont has made it clear that he doesn't mean to condemn people who don't have the option: "But if it's just your choice because 'it's fine' and wired takes more effort, PLEASE put in the effort. You'll be surprised."

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Connor has been doing news and feature things for GamesRadar+ since 2012, which is suddenly a long time ago. How on earth did that happen?