Call of Duty update breaks Virgin Media broadband download record

Call of Duty: Warzone
(Image credit: Activision)

Virgin Media recorded the biggest download day on record last week, with the average household consuming 20.77GB worth of data over a 24 hour period on 25 February.

The spike was sparked by the release of a new update for the Call of Duty: Warzone video game, demonstrating the growing impact of games on the UK’s broadband infrastructure.

The advent of ‘live’ games which receive huge updates throughout their lifetime and attract millions of users means broadband networks must be able to cope with huge downloads and deliver low latency for online play.

Virgin Media record

Such games have become increasingly popular during lockdown as a form of entertainment and also as a social activity as friends and family cannot meet each other in person due to social distancing restrictions.

The company’s data also reveals how broadband habits have changed across lockdowns. Upload traffic is up by a third compared to the first lockdown, suggesting users are now more comfortable with remote learning and remote working.

The average user now downloads 3.1GB per day, while the weekday peak for upstream traffic is 2pm-4pm, indicating this is a key period for work meetings and teaching on videoconferencing platforms.

“Our network is carrying more data than ever as consumers continue to adapt and embrace new technology that helps them work, learn, socialise and stay entertained from home,” said Jeanie York, Virgin Media CTIO.

“We’re committed to keeping up with demand and helping our customers stay connected at a time when our ultrafast and reliable services have never been more important to millions of people’s lives.”

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.