Gaming News Roundup – Dec 4
Net Neutrality And How Modern Gaming Could Be In Danger
There wasn’t really any news this week, so I wanted to take the time to remind you that net neutrality is in danger and we must do everything we can to prevent its repeal. As you’ve probably already heard, net neutrality is the principle in place that prevents your service providers from slowing down, speeding up, or blocking your access to anywhere on the internet. If net neutrality is nixed, you can most likely say goodbye to having a good experience in any online games if you aren’t willing to bleed extra funds for higher speeds or less latency. Not only that, but paying extra for a set of applications that are currently free. Imagine having to pay to use Steam, which is a market to purchase video games. Steam becomes DLC. There would also be another charge on top of what we already pay for our consoles’ online capabilities. That’s not even the extent of it. These service providers will also charge the sites you use for faster lanes. Even if you paid your monthly price for high speed internet, if the site you want to go to doesn’t have a deal with your service provider, it could still be made to run slow.
Without net neutrality, the simple act of getting and downloading a game would be much more strict on you. If you aren’t paying much extra for a higher data cap and faster lanes, you’ll have to add a lot more strategizing and managing of your data use and downloads. With size of games these days, just the 50GB download of the new Call of Duty would be a real killer. Imagine just finishing a binge of a show to go and play a game and seeing that it has an update that exceeds your data cap. Imagine you buy a game that has consistent updates that have to regularly eat up your data. Modern gaming could crumble for the middle class and under.
Don’t you just hate latency? It often throws my timing off when I’m trying to finish off a devastating combo in Injustice 2 or really any multiplayer game. Let’s say the other player’s service provider was a tad more generous than mine with online latency. While my attacks are half a second after I hit the button, his is a couple frames, making our fight a hell of a lot harder on me just due to my luck. This is part of the dangers of getting rid of net neutrality. Some folk will just have an advantage over you by default or vice versa, turning any competitive multiplayer game into a much larger pay-to-win scheme than we’ve ever seen, with the more well off getting a much larger advantage in-game.
Aside from us, the players, indie developers will likely take a huge hit. Indie developers who want to include any sort of online mode could be forced to pay much more than they can afford for servers. Think of what would happen if games like Rocket League had to opt out of having an online mode because it simply wasn’t affordable. This in itself is awful, but thinking much broader, it could kill the innovation and creativity of indies, forcing them to be less experimental and to just follow market trends to sell and survive. Creating indie games is already a risk with the ever present possibility that it won’t sell, but getting rid of net neutrality could price the little guys out of the market or force them to make huge compromises.
We still have time to talk to the people in office and air our grievances about why this is absolutely ridiculous. December 14th is when we’ll have the final ruling. If you thought Battlefront 2′s microtransaction system was terrible, imagine that for the entire internet and even worse. Let’s keep our open and free internet open and free, because the ramifications that could happen expand far greater than gaming.
That’s all I’ve got to say this week. Let’s try our best to preserve net neutrality! If you missed last week’s roundup, the one that had actual news, you can go ahead and click here to catch up. Be sure to come back next week for another roundup as we ease further into the holiday season.