Hilariously titled "Every Time You Vote against Net Neutrality, Your ISP Kills a Night Elf" an article by Tony Greenberg and Alex Veytsel of Ramprate argues that online massively-multiplayer online games will be the first to get the knife if Net Neutrality provisions go out the window. They contend that online video will survive in some form, even if people have to wait longer to download files from YouTube. But MMORPGs will suffer more because of their higher demand for low-latency traffic:
What will be murdered with no fallback or replacement is the nascent market of interactive entertainment – particularly online gaming. Companies like Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, Sony Online Entertainment, and countless others, have built a business on the fundamental assumption of relatively low latency bandwidth being available to large numbers of consumers. Furthermore, a large — even overwhelming — portion of the value of these offerings comes from their “network effects” — the tendency for the game to become more enjoyable and valuable as larger number of players joins the gaming network.
I.e. my enjoyment of my Second Life experience is largely dependent on whether or not I have to wait five seconds or five minutes for a texture to load. My girlfriend resists getting into SL largely because she doesn’t like waiting for objects and images to render. If ISPs put even light brakes on the traffic going to MMORPGs, that will result in more frustrating PKs, laggy sims, and disgruntled residents. And, poof, there goes your metaverse…
More interesting discussion on this issue at Terra Nova.