The 10 Best U.S. Cities for Gaming
Where exactly are the best U.S. cities when it comes to gaming? Thankfully, a recent study explains exactly where this is. While gaming is for everyone, and so is esports, not every city is equal. Some cities have better internet connections and are, thus, better equipped for gaming. We would love to see more and more cities join the ranks of “the best.” Right now, that’s not the case. The gaming market is estimated to reach $200 billion in total revenue by 2023 (courtesy of Newzoo). Esports itself is also a billion-dollar industry and grows every day.
But if you want to maximize your gaming power, where are the best U.S. cities for that?
How does one figure this out, anyway? A study was done by Norton based on quite a few criteria. Between Norton and Siege Media, they looked at what the most important things are to gaming. This involved the list of 100 cities in the U.S. with the fastest download speeds. Now I’m more worried about upload speeds/quality. They also halved the list and used the average population of cities (18,375.45). From there, they looked at the 50 cities above and below that average. But what are the actual criteria?
- Internet quality (25%) and the number of internet providers matters. It also matters the actual number of households with broadband (30%).
- Gamer community also factored into this. The number of gaming conventions per state in each city was counted, in addition to meetup groups (within 100 miles of the city in question).
- Gamer readiness was the final important piece. Businesses useful to gamers within a 15-mile radius of the city (5% each): GameStop, Best Buy, arcades, and electronics stores. It also finally considered the percentage of households that own a PC (15%).
These came together to do serious research on the best U.S. cities for gaming. Some of these cities were genuinely surprising to us, while others, such as cities in Texas and California, were pretty obvious. Aside from the best cities, there were some other interesting takeaways. Examples of this are that 96% of households in Utah had a computer on average. Now that’s fascinating. Ten cities in Massachusetts also made the top 50 cities for gaming, which is a huge number. But which of the cities broke into the top 10 best for gaming?
The Top 10 Cities
1. El Segundo, California
With a population of 16,719 and a median age of 39, it’s about 20 miles from Los Angeles (a haven for content creators, gamers, and esports). 97% of households with at least one PC have a 675 Mbps download speed. There are 181 video game meetups within driving distance, and a whopping 26 internet providers are also available. It’s also home to some major studios, like Naughty Dog (The Last of Us) and Unbroken Studios. In nearby Santa Monica, PlayVS also helps students engage in esports.
2. Converse, Texas
Texas has 27 conventions to bask in, three of them in San Antonio and three in Austin. Despite Texas being massive, Converse, Texas is pretty close to both. A 704 Mbps download speed is possible, and there are 96% of households with a PC in it. In addition to conventions, there are 56 gaming meetups. Converse has a population of 27,742 and median age of 32. We’re looking at a solid area to find a home if you’re into serious gaming.
3. Dana Point, California
Dana Point, California rests neatly between Los Angeles and San Diego and has a massive 209 gaming meetups well within driving meetups to attend. A solid internet download speed of 632 Mbps, there are also 19 internet providers to choose from. Despite arcades being a big part of the Cali gaming scene’s past, there are no arcades within 15 miles. That said, there’s still an incredibly high quality of the internet, making online gaming solid. Dana Point is much bigger than I thought it would be (33,730 population, median age of 49), that’s for sure.
4. Woods Cross, Utah
This might be the most interesting city of all of them, in my estimation. I didn’t expect Utah to crack the top 10, but it shows what I know! A population of 11,328, it also has a surprisingly low median age of 32. It sounds like a town just filled with gamers, with 99% of households owning a PC and a 629 download speed. Just shy of Salt Lake City, Woods Cross has two Best Buy locations within a 15-mile radius, but there’s also a gaming lounge in the form of Game Tyrant. Though there are only 11 gaming meetups in the town, it still sounds like an amazing community if you’re trying to get into PC gaming on the West Coast.
5. Roanoke, Texas
Out of all the top 50 cities, Roanoke, Texas, has the third-highest – 21! Why can’t we get that kind of decision-making in North Carolina? With a population that doesn’t even crack 8,000, that’s a ridiculous amount of choices. There are also 49 video game meetups within driving distance, and 95% of households own a computer. Much like its contemporaries, the internet connection is well over 600 megs for a download (632 Mbps). It probably helps that Roanoke is a part of the Fort Worth metro area, so it’s within reach of a huge area.
6. Libertyville, Illinois
On the other hand, we’ve got Libertyville, IL, with a median age of 45 and a population of 20,359. What’s different between these two places? J&J Ventures being located here makes it an area well-known for gambling. Does gambling count as gaming? Of course, it does, even if it’s a bit more predatory (looking at you, f2p gacha games). With a towering 54 gaming meetups and 19 possible ISPs, that’s not all that attracts gamers. Some of the schools, like Libertyville High, for example, have esports clubs. It’s also close to Antioch, which is where the gaming store Xtreme Games is located.
7. Moorestown, New Jersey
Heading over to the East Coast (the best coast), we have Moorestown, with its population of 20,355 and a median age of 44. It is getting to the higher numbers, here in virtually every way possible. With a 764 Mbps download speed, 19 ISPs, and 206 gaming meetups, Moorestown, NJ, has everything you need. Need a GameStop? There are 34 stores within 15 miles of the city. That beats Wake Forests one, maybe two GameStops, that’s for sure.
8. Randallstown, Maryland
The numbers keep going up! Randallstown, Maryland, has a population of 34,897 and an overall median age of 41. However, they have an incredible 825 Mbps internet download speed and 108 gaming meetups well within a driving range. At least 95% of households have a PC. Just outside of Randallstown is a party game truck, which is an “arcade on wheels,” fully equipped to bring gaming on the go. A party bus with 50-inch screens? Count me in! That would be a rad place to host a little esports viewing party, that’s for sure.
9. Clark, New Jersey
Back to New Jersey, but a bit on the smaller side. Clark has a population of 15,943 and a median age of 43. Their internet is moderately better than Randallstown, with 839 Mbps. I am curious how it is so low on the list. It’s got 201 gaming meetups nearby, such as the Scotch Plains Recreation Dept. They started an esports program last summer, which is awesome. At least one resident goes to Caldwell University who competes in collegiate esports (PacifiedVal).
10. Succasunna, New Jersey
The top ends with yet another entry for NJ: Succasunna, New Jersey. Significantly smaller (8,681 population and a median age of 44), it has fewer options for internet, with 14 ISPs. What makes this an interesting choice is that there are about 200 gaming meetups for that 8,000 people despite its small stature. Succasunna is also near Newark, which has its gaming events for sure. It’s also important to note that the world’s first electronic switching public telephone exchange was in Succasunna. A 643 Mbps download speed is nothing to sneeze at, that’s for sure.
I’m surprised that New York didn’t even crack the top 50 of the best U.S. cities for gaming. It’s a fascinating list, that’s for sure. I do wonder why upload wasn’t considered, only download. Download is excellent for downloading games and viewing streaming media, but upload is where things matter. After all, you can’t run your stream with a five-meg upload. You could, but it will be dreadful. Even if you don’t live in one of these towns, gaming is still for you, and you can still enjoy it. If you don’t live near a gaming meetup for tournaments, casual gaming, or whatever you’re after, you can always try to start your own.