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.
3 thoughts on “Every Time You Vote against Net Neutrality, Your ISP Kills a Night Elf”
Hi — yes, sometimes waiting for objects to rez in Second Life is sort of like being inside an annoying pop-up book…but what other metaverse do we have? Dislike the lag and clunkiness, but still keep coming back for more… 😉
Rik, I work with the Hands Off the Internet coalition and would assume that gamers would be opposed to network neutrality, as packets requiring more immediate delivery, such as those necessary to seamless gameplay or video streaming, could be given preference over those packets requiring less immediacy, such as email or text blogs. And any regulation of the Internet is dangerous in that it could very easily stifle the open system that has allowed for continual gaming innovation and development.
The key phrase is “could be given preference” by ISPs. Or more likely the could NOT be given preference because the ISP wants to privilege their own VOD or VOIP services over gaming packets.
Legislation designed to protect the open nature of the net is a good thing. Thus, gamers should support Net Neutrality and not be fooled by astroturf groups like “Hands off the Internet Coalition”.
Anyway, you’re just a shill for the telecom industry.