On Monday (that's ... today!) the Federal Communications Commission is expected
to lay out some official rules regarding Net Neutrality
, a hot-button issue for Slashdotters and other super-nerds over the past few years. Everyone from the Commission chair
to president freakin-Obama
publicly states that Net Neutrality is the right thing to do - but so far, enforcement has lacked teeth
This GEEKS ME OUT because network regulation has a direct, profound impact on the growth of the video game industry, not just in the far future, but immediately
. If you use the Internet (hello, and welcome to it)
, this affects you.
--- HOLD ON, WHAT IS THIS SHIT AGAIN? ---
"Net Neutrality" refers to policies and procedures for making the Internet a level playing field for all online services. Internet Service Providers like Comcast and AT&T use their infrastructure ownership as clout, to dictate terms of service to the consumer, like monthly download caps
Frankly I'm surprised that Microsoft, and Valve for that matter, haven't already picked up on this. Blizzard uses torrents to distribute World of Warcraft patches, and it works brilliantly. Downloading huge files from Xbox Live and Steam not only limits your
download rate to their servers' availability, but also puts a huge strain on their pipes, and their bandwidth bills (which of course leads to less availability for other downloaders). The Internet was designed to be distributed, and if the FCC starts really cracking down on ISPs interfering with torrent traffic, then speedy, torrented game downloads will be an obvious imperative to digital game distribution.
If you think that shifty ISPs are only a problem in America - which you might, since we're the only country that matters - you might want to check on that
. European ISPs in particular have historically shamed American ones in terms of connection quality, but the kind of shit that Comcast et al get away with is clearly setting a dangerous example.
Hopefully the FCC is about to set a counter-example. Vegas odds on today's statement are that it will be pro-consumer, but it remains to be seen what kinds of standards they'll set for our online rights. Don't wimp out, FCC!
LOOK WHO CAME: