The Top College Towns for Mobile Gaming in the US, Ranked by Ookla

As the academic year kicks off for many American schools, mobile speed-tracking company Ookla released a list of the top college towns in the US ranked by how good they are…for mobile gaming. 

Of the 100 cities Ookla considered as major college towns across the US, most of those in the top 10 for mobile gaming were located in Maryland, Michigan and California. In a blog post, Ookla ranked the cities according to a “Game Score” that took data from the second quarter of 2023 and accounted for metrics like download and upload speed, latency, and other factors that affect the mobile gaming experience — especially when competing in online games, where lag can ruin your kill streak. 

According to Ookla, the best college towns for mobile gaming are: 

  • Berkeley, California
  • Isla Vista, California
  • Palo Alto, California
  • Dover, Delaware
  • College Park, Maryland
  • Annapolis, Maryland
  • East Lansing, Michigan
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • State College, Pennsylvania
  • Providence, Rhode Island

There are plenty of towns in other states that rank just below those, including Tempe, Arizona; Boulder, Colorado; and Alpharetta, Georgia. Ookla also ranked the Game Scores of towns with colleges that had notable esports programs: Berkeley, California, was highest, followed by Irvine, California, and Atlanta, Georgia, alongside lower-scoring towns in Akron, Ohio; Bloomington, Illinois; and Dallas. A possible explanation is that esports programs still mainly play desktop games and haven’t invested in mobile games.

While Game Score is a proprietary metric with limited details on Ookla’s blog post (we’ve reached out to Ookla for a granular explanation), it could be a potential bellwether for mobile speeds and mobile connectivity quality in cities across the US. Since this report considers only college towns, we can’t use the metric to compare mobile gaming quality in big cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Chicago — but for students settling in at college for the new academic year, they can at least see if their areas rank highly for smartphone gaming between classes.

Read more: Best Cellphone Plans of 2023: Our Top Picks for September

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