I was playing Counter Strike: Global Offensive today, and someone on my team who wasn't moving said that he was "rubber banding". I never heard that term before, and I'm not sure what that means.

What does "rubber banding" mean? I don't think that it means the "tool" we use to pack stuff.

  • Also small note for the bridgers: I didn't install CS:GO back. I actually first saw it on a video a while ago, then a few months ago, I heard it in CS:GO, but I was unable to find the video's link now, so I just said that I was playing CS:GO today.
    – ave
    Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 18:40
  • 4
    I've narrowed it down to CS:GO. In the context of racing games (and others in general), it's a completely different thing than what your question suggests. Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 18:58
  • @JeffMercado thanks, I was meaning non-racing games. As per the comment, the video was about diablo3, which faces similar issues as csgo.
    – ave
    Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 19:03
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    Rubber banding is not specific to CS:GO. Adding the tag unneccessarily restricts answers to only a specific game. It's a pretty general term, applicable across all networked games.
    – Frank
    Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 19:24

2 Answers 2


Rubber banding is a term that's used to refer to a player's random or sporadic jerky movement during a multiplayer game if they're experiencing high latency.

This happens more in certain games than others, but it is most noticeable in FPSs or similar games with many people per multiplayer server. It is prevalent in MMOs - the large number of players means there are more cases of rubber banding; either the server is overloaded or players have high ping.

When rubber banding occurs, the player's character appears to rebound forwards and backwards jerkily, as the server tries to calculate their position based on the high latency data they're transmitting. It is called rubber banding because it looks like the character is caught in a rubber band, being pulled and bounced forwards and backwards, appearing to be in one position one moment, then teleporting several metres away the next.

The player's motion may also appear differently to different people - this can often explain why your friend saw himself rubber banding around on his screen, but to you he was motionless (which is common when looking at a lagging player).

Note that as Jeff mentioned, rubber banding in racing games refers to a type of AI that prevents them from getting too far ahead of the player.

  • 4
    This is interesting. Until now I'd only heard about it in the context of racing games. Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 14:49
  • @DangerZone The other definition is not limited to racing games (although there is most obvious), rubber band AI is a different things in general, refering to the capability of the AI to adapt to the player competence so he/she has an enjoyable experience (game not too easy to get bored, and not too hard to become frustrated). It is also seen in many rts/rpg/tbs/etc. but is not that obvious.
    – zozo
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 17:13
  • This is caused mostly when games use udp instead of tcp. Also this can be client side only or server side only. But the details about the difference is more a game development question.
    – ydobonebi
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 16:30
  • @ydobonebi: UDP has little to nothing to do with it. In some games, TCP will be worse, since it's a bit laggier in general and most games don't wait for a server acknowledgement before moving the character on screen. Diablo 3 runs TCP and there was tons of rubberbanding at launch due to highly congested servers and terrible latencies. Either way, you'll get little rubberbanding on a steady connection and more on a crappy connection.
    – MichaelS
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 17:42
  • You're right, those should be swapped actually. It is the tcp that causes it the most.
    – ydobonebi
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 17:44

I have seen this term used in a completely different context, specifically with console games and "boosting".

People may use a rubber band on their controller to force analog sticks and/or other buttons (such as a trigger) to function. I believe it is mostly done by people who want to appear active in an online game mode that kicks players for being idle.

The method is used for padding stats (i.e. boosting). For example, in team-based game modes where everyone on a team gets XP (more for winning), a player may rubber band to get XP for doing nothing.

Rubber banding is also used for people attempting to earn achievements (Xbox) or trophies (Playstation). They may leave controllers in such a configuration for prolonged hours to meet requirements quicker than actively playing.

People may also use multiple consoles to fill lobbies for "dead" servers, namely any game mode that requires a specific number of people to start a game. Rubber banding means that these additional players do not get kicked for being idle whilst the player uses their main account to play (or most likely boost stats).

Xbox Rubber Banding PS3 Rubber Banding

  • 2
    Imagine having to go somewhere at the last minute while you play and doing this before you go. "Hey, I need your help, can you come here for a moment?" "Sure, let me just wrap a rubber band intricately around my controller so I don't get kicked."
    – user114997
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 10:51

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