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Every Time You Vote Against Net Neutrality, Your ISP Kills a Night Elf 178

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the legislation-from-smoking-a-series-of-pipes dept.
Perhaps one of the more overlooked problems that could arise out of a bad Net Neutrality decision is the impact to online gaming. In fact, any interactive communications could stand to take a dive (VOIP, streaming video, etc) with the advent of Net Neutrality legislation. RampRate has an interesting look at the possible fallout and where we are headed. From the article: "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."
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Every Time You Vote Against Net Neutrality, Your ISP Kills a Night Elf

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  • by Spazntwich (208070) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @04:48PM (#16956856)
    Maybe then he'll do the dishes, or shower.
    • by creimer (824291) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @05:02PM (#16957070) Homepage
      Don't count on it. My roommate came down with the flu a week before he got married and I ended up cleaning out the place after I moved out. I thought he was joking that there was puke on the floor until I almost step into it. The shower was worst. I don't know what it was but it was weird and pissed off when I tried to kill it. I was tempted to call his wife-to-be to come over to see it and ask her if she really wanted to marry this guy. God knows I scared her with the true state of his finances (a big number on the wrong side of zero) and she made him work 40+ hours per week after their honeymoon.
    • Maybe then he'll do the dishes, or shower.
      You're first post on slashdot. I can only imagine the stench that must wreak forth from your apartment.
  • Wait... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dark_15 (962590)
    So you mean WoW players would be forced to have a life outside the Horde???? Isn't that a good thing?
  • by robyannetta (820243) * on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @04:50PM (#16956900) Homepage
    This gets my vote for the most catchy title since Fark's 'ceiling cat' incident.
  • by EmperorKagato (689705) * <sakamura@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @04:51PM (#16956924) Homepage Journal
    As long as the kittens are spared. I don't feel bad about ISPs killing our Night Elves.
  • by Speare (84249) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @04:52PM (#16956926) Homepage Journal

    As has been mentioned before, to legislators and industrialists, "online gaming" is part of the much older "gaming industry," which is the politically correct word for gambling. This article refers to "online computer games" which has an entirely different stigma involved. You have to speak with policymakers clearly, so they don't confuse tempt-husbands-to-wickedness gambling and train-kids-to-shoot-up-schools computer games.

    • by carlmenezes (204187) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @05:26PM (#16957398) Homepage
      Why does this only apply to online gaming? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Net Neutrality, "an idealized concept of network design which has been defined by Tim Berners-Lee as "If I pay to connect to the net with a given quality of service, and you pay to connect to the net with the same or higher quality of service, then you and I can communicate across the net, with that quality of service.""

      So, why aren't the VoIP telcos crying hoarse? What about companies that rely on video streaming? Why only online gaming? This story seems to me to be a plant just to get the average gaming geek up in arms.

      I mean, if everyone suffers the same fate, isn't everyone else gaining as well? What's the problem?
  • by axus (991473) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @04:56PM (#16956980)
    People don't want to have to pay extra for something they were getting already. And we certainly don't want server operators to pay more for what they were getting standard. Besides that, we don't want things being blocked or intentionally degraded. Simply, keep the same user experience as now without increasing the price. If network providers aren't making a profit, then raise prices and let the market deal with it.
    • yeah, but... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by HalfOfOne (738150)
      I didn't think bottled water would sell too well either. Things that seem silly to knowledgeable and sane folks just don't sink in to the rest of the populace.

      Right now I have 1.5Mb/256k ADSL from AT&T for $15 a month. The chuckleheads keep trying to sell me on "pro" service for twice as much, but in truth I hardly use the bandwidth I've got now, I'm happy with what I've got as long as they don't screw it up. Sooner or later they're going to key in on the fact that quite a bit of the demographic they
  • by joeyspqr (629639) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @04:56PM (#16956982)
    think of all the stockholders not profiting from the extra fees paid by MMORPG addicts for preferential routing to tonight's server
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @04:56PM (#16956984)
    I'm a geek who has followed this issue for some time, and even *I* don't understand the term "net neutrality," and the seemingly confusing ways it's used. Some use "net neutrality" to refer to legislation which prevents phone/cable companies from selling preferential bandwidth to certain websites for a fee. Others (as in the summary above) seem to use it for the opposite meaning, referring to the position that the government should stay neutral and not interfere with phone/cable company rights to sell this preferential bandwidth.

    Now, if *I* can't even understand it, how the Hell is Joe Sixpack supposed to?

    -Eric

    • by Aadain2001 (684036) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @05:08PM (#16957142) Journal
      I am so with you on this!! People seem to be using the "Net Neutrality" boogyman to push their own agendas, even if those agendas are completely contradictory! For example, TFA (which I haven't read btw) seems to take the stance that the current setup allows for online games to receive higher priority than other traffic (which I doubt very much). Under Net Neutrality, everything would run at the same speed, irregardless of available bandwidth capacity and latency. But I always thought Net Neutrality meant 'keep things the way they are', ie, don't let Comcast and Verizon charge extortion fees to companies like Google to prevent their outbound traffic from being given the bandwidth and latency of a 3600 baud modem while giving their own offerings the highest level of priority possible.

      The whole scheme is just badly defined, by both sides, and it is really hard to fight the FUD when the FUD seems to take on new shapes (but keeps the same names) depending on the source and their agenda.

      • Read the article... (Score:4, Informative)

        by norminator (784674) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @05:37PM (#16957608)
        TFA (which I haven't read btw) seems to take the stance that the current setup allows for online games to receive higher priority than other traffic (which I doubt very much).

        Hint: Don't reference "TFA" without reading it... I can understand if the summary confused you, but then you should have just referenced the summary

        No, the article doesn't say gaming gets preference now, the article says there is no preference now. But if that changes and neutrality goes away, online gaming will be all but killed off, unlike VoIP and video. ISP's have alternatives to VoIP and video (and so do other non-internet sources, like land lines for phone and Video on demand service for video), but it's not likely that the ISP's will offer online gaming services, because they don't know anything about that whole industry. And even if they did try to offer it, it wouldn't be good, because it wouldn't be coming from the good game publishers.

        So, to sum up, TFA says that gaming, like other internet services, will suffer due to latency problems. Unlike other services, there are not alternatives to online gaming, and a worse experience for a large segment of users upsets the rest of the users (if there are any who don't have latency issues) so the whole industry stands to be hurt badly by non-neutrality.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      There is a Wikipedia entry for it, if you trust such things to be correct.

      And as far as I can tell the summary agrees with your first guess at the meaning of Net Neutrality. The idea is to pass legislation to prevent ISPs from doing something they aren't doing in any great numbers anyway in the absence of the legislation, presumably because we either suspect that they will begin doing what we don't want them to do or we just love legislation kind of in general and want more of it to be passed.

      Clear?
      • by Otter (3800)
        And as far as I can tell the summary agrees with your first guess at the meaning of Net Neutrality.

        No, the link does but the summary has it backwards, which pretty much makes the OP's point.

      • ISPs and double-talk (Score:3, Informative)

        by norminator (784674)
        The idea is to pass legislation to prevent ISPs from doing something they aren't doing in any great numbers anyway in the absence of the legislation, presumably because we either suspect that they will begin doing what we don't want them to do or we just love legislation kind of in general and want more of it to be passed.

        It has been done, here a little, there a little. It was an issue of discussion on the Vonage forum for a while. What I think is funny is that ISPs say "There's not evidence that we'l
    • by norminator (784674) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @05:15PM (#16957254)
      Some use "net neutrality" to refer to legislation which prevents phone/cable companies from selling preferential bandwidth to certain websites for a fee. Others (as in the summary above) seem to use it for the opposite meaning, referring to the position that the government should stay neutral and not interfere with phone/cable company rights to sell this preferential bandwidth.


      Net Neutrality refers to a neutral internet... the ISP's wouldn't be able to treat one type of packet different from another. The point the original article is making is that if net neutrality isn't protected, the only services (VoIP, gaming, video), that won't suffer will be ones that are either supplied by your ISP, or ones where the providers have paid your ISP extra. Hence, if you like XBox Live, and Microsoft hasn't paid Verizon (or AT&T, etc), your online games will suffer. If Microsoft has paid up with all of the ISP's, then you're in great shape. Suddenly it's a whole lot more difficult to provide content and services, unless you are the ISP.

      Now that you know, the best way to make sure Joe Sixpack understands is to Spread the Word! [savetheinternet.com]
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Truman Starr (949802)
      Net Neutrality is the "good" thing. Net Neutrality means that the Providers Of The Tubes cannot prioritize (i.e., charge more) for one type of traffic or destination than another. That is to say, if all of the users on an ISP spend their days watching YouTube, a Net Neutral ISP can't do much about it. The ISPs would like to be able to throttle down some traffic unless they get paid. So suddenly, you have all these people trying to watch YouTube, but the ISP is artificially choking the access. Priority
    • by smilindog2000 (907665) <bill@billrocks.org> on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @05:18PM (#16957288) Homepage
      Just to clear this up a bit, there are now two common definitions for "Net nuetrality". The original definition, which has been enforced since the early days of the net is:

      - Carriers will not discriminated against data based on who sends it.

      This simply means that my bits have just as much right to reach your DSL customers as Microsoft's. Under this traditional definition, network traffic shaping is legal: you can discriminate against BitTorrent, gaming traffic, spam, video, etc. Traffic shaping is a critical component of running a network well.

      The new definition is total BS created by the phone and cable companies. They've redefined our traditional term to mean:

      - You wont be able to pay more for high-bandwidth connections, or less for low-bandwidth. All customers will pay exactly the same rate.

      This stupid FUD is unfortunately working. By redefining our term, they have turned it into an evil thing, which no one wants. Who would vote in favor of making cheap low bandwidth connections illegal?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by debest (471937)

        By redefining our term, they have turned it into an evil thing, which no one wants.

        This is exactly what the telcos / cable companies wanted to do. "Net Neutrality" was one of those terms that was created by a special interest group, an expression designed to be have a positive connotation, regardless of the content of the message. The "USA PATRIOT Act" is another such example: who could be opposed to an law that says "patriot" in it? Would support be so high for the law if it was called the "USA POLICE S

    • by alanQuatermain (840239) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @05:43PM (#16957698) Homepage

      The thing most folks are concerned with is the ability for a network provider to request money from someone with whom they currently have no business relationship, and to penalize anyone who doesn't pay up. Here's an example:

      Let's assume the that Google leases its internet connection from Bell, and that there are a large number of consumers using AT&T DSL service to access Google.

      So, AT&T looks at its traffic, and realises that they are routing a lot of traffic from their customers to Google, and routing the replies back again. They send someone to Google, asking for money. Google tells AT&T that it already pays some ridiculous amount of money for its internet connection (say, $250'000 per month), and is not going to pay AT&T. Neither will it pay Comcast or Rogers, who over the last week have also asked for large amounts of money.

      AT&T (and Comcast, and Rogers) go back to their HQ and tune their Quality-of-Service so that Google's traffic is slowed down significantly. Now only Bell customers can access Google at the speeds for which Google is paying 3 million dollars a year.

      Now, the government is currently trying to enact legislation which will make the above possible. The supporters of the Net Neutrality movement argue that the rules should stay as they are: we've not needed explicit rules before, we shouldn't be adding them now. The opponents of the movement argue that network companies shouldn't be stopped from using Quality-of-Service in their offerings. Now, there were some important points there:

      Firstly, the existing legislation is effectively in favour of Net Neutrality; it doesn't grant any privileges which aren't intrinsic to the operation of the system as a whole. There is new legislation being created which changes that, however, and that new legislation is what people are trying to get rid of, to keep the existing level playing field.

      Secondly, you see the argument that Net Neutrality shouldn't be allowed because then Bell won't be able to charge more for higher bandwidth, or for better quality of service, and so on. This is a red herring, however: Net Neutrality supporters don't much care about that. We don't expect that everything will cost the same. It's perfectly acceptable to us that any consumer -- be they private or corporate -- desiring higher access speeds or better quality of service would pay extra for that. It's a service, you pay for it. That's fine. What we don't like is the way that a company like AT&T or Comcast could potentially charge money from any company whose data crosses their network at any point.

      So, if an AT&T customer uses Google, they would ask Google for money. The AT&T customer is already paying them, and is getting exactly what they paid for. Google is paying their provider, and getting what they paid for. Some network providers, however, believe that data crossing their network is not being paid for, and so should be able to request reimbursement from the content providers. At which point one might well ask: What are the consumers of AT&T's home DSL service paying for, if not for their traffic to be routed across AT&T's network?

      The arguments come thick & fast, but it ultimately comes down to something similar to that employed by Universal against the iPod and (successfully) the Zune: These people make money by selling something which works alongside our product. Even though we're paid for our product, we want money from the device our product works with, because without our product, the device couldn't function.

      So, I hope this clears things up for you: charging your customers extra for better QoS is not a problem. Charging people who aren't your customers for QoS -- or explicitly lowering QoS for companies who don't hand you money -- is not. We're not asking the government to create rules disallowing it, we'd just like the new rules enabling that behaviour to be removed please, or at least re

      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @05:56PM (#16957890)
        I'm eternally confused when it comes to the legislation. When someone says "net neutrality legislation," they can mean legislation to PROTECT net neutrality, legislation to PROTECT phone/cable company's rights to offer preferential treatment, or neither. Adding to the confusion is that, without legislation affirmatively protecting neutrality, there is nothing to stop the phone/cable companies from going ahead with their plans with or without their legislation anyway.

        -Eric

        • I'm eternally confused when it comes to the legislation. When someone says "net neutrality legislation," they can mean legislation to PROTECT net neutrality, legislation to PROTECT phone/cable company's rights to offer preferential treatment, or neither. Adding to the confusion is that, without legislation affirmatively protecting neutrality, there is nothing to stop the phone/cable companies from going ahead with their plans with or without their legislation anyway.

          Well, the FCC appears to be enforcing som

      • by Abcd1234 (188840)
        Now, the government is currently trying to enact legislation which will make the above possible. The supporters of the Net Neutrality movement argue that the rules should stay as they are: we've not needed explicit rules before, we shouldn't be adding them now. The opponents of the movement argue that network companies shouldn't be stopped from using Quality-of-Service in their offerings. Now, there were some important points there:

        What the... okay, now I'm *really* confused.

        If "the government is currently
        • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @06:51PM (#16958578) Homepage
          OK, this argument is confusing because the grandparent forgot to mention that the Telecoms are currently restricted from discriminating against companies because of their common carrier status. Current legislation means to change that, though.

          In other words, Supporters != screw Google. Supporters are OK with traditional type-based QoS. Meaning that, if they want to screw Google, they have to screw all HTTP web traffic. Which is pretty much everything not using secure pages.

          You will note, however, that this doesn't actually save MMO companies because they use unique ports.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Abcd1234 (188840)
            OK, this argument is confusing because the grandparent forgot to mention that the Telecoms are currently restricted from discriminating against companies because of their common carrier status. Current legislation means to change that, though.

            And do you have proof this is the case? This whole can of worms started because a telecom head (Comcast's, I believe) stated they might start performing source-based descrimination. This implies that they feel free they can do this.

            Further, AFAIK, CC status only pert
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by ACMENEWSLLC (940904)
        Great post alanQuatermain (840239).

        I agree. I am against any legislation here though. I currently QoS about 700 users traffic. We prioritize based on just about everything. An .EXE in FTP/HTTP traffic gets lower priority than a Citrix session for example. But they both can fill the pipes if they need to. SMTP has a cap limit so it can not fill the pipe. It also has a low QoS. HTTP traffic in general is lower priority than HTTPS traffic. ISO downloads are capped at 90% and QoS very low. Certa
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mojodamm (1021501)
          "I'd rather my ISP limit my bit torrent downloads so my BF2 doesn't lag. Works for me."

          But that's exactly the point. In your example, let's substitute the bit torrent users for a large corporation. Now, said corporation can go to your ISP, plop a wad of cash on the table, and throttle their bandwidth up, causing your BF2 to be completely screwed. Since you don't have the same deep pockets, you end up paying the same amount for your service that you had been, only the service is now degraded. Currentl
    • Currently the net is generally "net neutral" If I send a packet anywhere it can travel to its destination and back at the speed the pipes allow at that moment. With some exceptions* this is true of all packets

      Lately some ISP's (generally US phone companies who have some local monopolies) have started looking at the contracts and agreements and have discovered that they are not required by law/contract to stay neutral. They may also want to limit competition from Voice Over IP and Internet Video (not that
    • by AbRASiON (589899) *
      Jesus! can we mod this guy a +6 somehow? I couldn't agree more - each time I'm confused when I see this term used.
  • by mi (197448) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @04:57PM (#16957004) Homepage

    There is nothing in the current laws, that requires ISPs to carry any particular type of traffic, yet the only stuff some of them have come around disabling is the outgoing port 25 (for good reasons), and the incoming ports 80 and 443 (for bad reasons)...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jamie (78724) *
      The FCC has made it clear that banning certain types of traffic -- as at least one ISP has already tried -- won't be tolerated. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality#Legal_ history [wikipedia.org]
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mi (197448)
        The FCC has made it clear that banning certain types of traffic -- as at least one ISP has already tried -- won't be tolerated. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality#Legal_ [wikipedia.org] history

        Why, then, can't anyone connect to my port 80, and why can't I connect to anyone's port 25 — except my own ISP's mail-server?

    • by chef_raekwon (411401) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @05:31PM (#16957500) Homepage
      outgoing port 25 (for good reasons)

      are you mad? i switched away from a provider simply because they decided that outbound traffic on 25 was not allowed. i asked, simply "please disconnect my service." i got the "why sir?", to that i responded about 25 being closed, needing a mail server, etc etc. bastard company kept on insisting that I could not have a server on their network, but wouldn't close my account. after some freaking, and raised voices, they heard.

      now, i understand that some clowns haven't any idea what 25 is, or how smtp works. people like that should have everything disabled by default at the isp, but the option to open the port should also exist. whatever happened to making your customer happy? somewhere along the way, money and greed removed any politeness between lowly customer and huge corporation.

      • by Lehk228 (705449)
        the firewalling should be done on the user's cable modem, which can be unlocked for user configuration by a call to the ISP. for extra security a button could be included that started the modem's web interface for X minutes to make it impossible for worm code to reconfigure the firewall
      • somewhere along the way, money and greed removed any politeness between lowly customer and huge corporation.

        It is not "money and greed" in this case, but, rather, an explosion of hijacked PCs sending spam. ISPs are right blocking SMTP port (other than to their own server) by default, although I agree, that they should be making exceptions for those, who explicitly ask for it enabled.

        That said, this is a completely different subject from the one, with which I started the thread...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Barny (103770)
        Correct, this is how my ISP does it, if you want your port 25 + windows networking ports opened, you go onto their website, and use the drop down box to select "open the floodgates" or something similar, about 5 min later they are open.

        Protects customers who don't need to know, and keeps customers who do :)
      • You're being silly. ISPs block port 25 for good reason; they're trying to stem the tide of SPAM zombies flooding everyone's email inbox with junk mail. If you want to run your own email server, simply use your ISP's email server as a smart host. Every email server I've seen in the last few years has this capability. Plus, smart hosting has the added benefit of side-stepping the problem of RBLs' blocking anything that comes from an IP address listed in IANA's records as originating from a dynamic DSL por

        • aol may have a smart host option/configuration ... however, the isp in question did not. i need/desire to send and receive mail using many domain names as well...so, i simply switched providers, to a company that had no caps, no blocks or filters, and provided me with a small subnet. so all is good.

          love your photos -- i use an Eos 1D mark2, with a 35-350mm L series lens ... although i haven't beautiful lit up bay bridges for nice shots ... kudos.
  • Doesn't all the night elves belong to the RIAA?
  • by gorehog (534288) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @05:11PM (#16957184)
    If this is a big concern then the MMO operators should carry the weight of the bill to hire lobbyists. Of course, they dont represent the same economic weight as bandwidth providers.

    It seems like a simple thing to figure out. Are the bandwidth providers in a situation where they are in the red? I dont think they are. So, do they need government price protections? I dont think so. This is another case of corporate interests begging for a handout when they want new yachts.
  • The problem is not giving certain packets a higher priority, the problem is who decides who gets higher priority and why.

    But anyhow, it's pointless. The only bottleneck there is is the DSL uplink.
    Once your packet is at your local ISP it will only go through relatively empty lines. Bandwidth is incredibly cheap these days. A simple pair of optical fibers can easily handle 10 GBit or 40 GBit.

    Anyhow, if you are really worried about it: Get off your A** and build your own network. Wireless meshed networks are r
    • by doon (23278) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @05:26PM (#16957390) Homepage
      Bandwidth maybe cheap, but router interfaces are not. I work on a DWDM network that covers a good portion of NY, along with running a decent sized Regional ISP. Sure you *can* put 10G on a piece of fiber and it isn't that expensive, it gets expensive when you need to be able to route @ those speeds.
      • by Eivind (15695)
        Yeah. But high-speed routing is a minute fraction of the cost of providing bandwith to end-users. The biggest costs are the last-mile costs. They're not so high for each subscriber, but there's darn many of them.

        A port on a router capable of effectively routing 10Gb is very expensive -- but that is 10.000 1Mb adsl-connections, assuming they where all used 100% 24/7, which they ain't typical usage is more like in the 5-10% so that port would be able to handle the traffic of the order of 100 to 200 *thousan

  • by phantomcircuit (938963) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @05:14PM (#16957242) Homepage
    The original article is by a paid market research firm, if this was a article about total cost of ownership for windows being less than that of *nix it would just be a joke.
  • oh for god sakes... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Vegeta99 (219501) <rjlynn@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @05:15PM (#16957256)
    What, broadband providers don't have enough bandwidth?

    Lay more fucking fiber, you god damned piece of shit greedmongering lazy bastards! I pay $110 for cable per month, and that ONLY includes analog, digital on ONE TV, and a cable modem. I have an HDTV, and I REFUSE to pay them another $10 for 8 760p.

    Eat my shorts, telecoms.

    (Note that my cable company is not a large one, and my modem's speed is routinely 1.5x advertized with no latency problems or blocked ports. Still, $110 a month??)
  • by SilentChris (452960) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @05:16PM (#16957266) Homepage
    "Every Time You Vote Against Net Neutrality, Your ISP Kills a Night Elf". That's fine. I play Tauren. You seen one Legolllas, you've seen them all. (By the way, did every person who came to Wow with no sense of fantasy make themselves a night elf? What was the draw to that stupid race for most people, anyway?)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)
      Because they're hot?

      I'd play a Tauren, but as a grownup with years of gaming experience I can't bring myself to play a game in easy mode...

      • How on earth is anything on Horde easy? Have you seen the top raiding guilds? 9 out of 10 are Alliance. 2 words: aggro management. 3 more words: easier to level. Hopefully the Paladin lorelol swap will fix this mess.
  • All an end to network neutrality will do is raise the entrance bar to the online-gaming market. The producer of the title will shoulder the initial cost to ensure preferential treatment on the network of their subscribers, and then the producer will recoup the cost in slightly increased subscription fees.

    Likely situation: convergence of movie and gaming industries. The movie industry has the huge bankroll necessary to launch a game. Game producers will be sought after just as movie producers are, and

    • All an end to network neutrality will do is raise the entrance bar to the online-gaming market.

      I'm confused... Do we have net-neutrality now? Why then can't anyone connect to my port 80, and why can't I connect to port 25 of anyone other than my ISP's mail server?

      • Do we have net-neutrality now?

        Yes, informally.

        Why then can't anyone connect to my port 80, and why can't I connect to port 25 of anyone other than my ISP's mail server?

        Net non-neutrality means Google would be able connect at one speed and Uncle Harry at a different speed or not at all. Basically Net Neutral means no discrimination on level of service based on originating IP or destination IP.

        • by mi (197448)

          You forgot to answer my question:

          Why then can't anyone connect to my port 80, and why can't I connect to port 25 of anyone other than my ISP's mail server?

          Please, try again...

          Net non-neutrality means Google would be able connect at one speed and Uncle Harry at a different speed or not at all.

          I already connect at much lower speed than Google. Probably, it is because I pay a lot less for my connection...

  • I wonder what the implications of a strategically placed login message for World of Warcraft, with the names/ridings of the politicians against Net Neutrality.

    Tell a WarCrack fiend he may have a high ping during that critical Patchwerk attempt then open a voting station on maintenance day. Voter turnout would probly spike by 3-4 million (current US wow base?) people.

    If the people who had the most to lose(M$,google,Blizzard) made an effort to saturate every aspect of online entertainment with things like "fa
  • by miller60 (554835) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @05:28PM (#16957430) Homepage
    While there's a certain logic to the scenario presented by Ramprate in TFA regarding phone companies and ISPs, it's also true that the largest online games are actually hosted by a phone company. AT&T hosts World of Warcraft and Sony Online Entertainment's major games. At this year's E3, AT&T announced the expansion of its online gaming operation [datacenterknowledge.com]. Given the hosting fees coming in from Blizzard and Sony, AT&T/SBC has a vested interest in their success. Does the nation's largest phone company have leverage in dealing with ISPs who might be tempted to mess with MMO traffic? I suspect they do. Food for thought.

    If Net Neutrality did squeeze online gaming, it might create an opportunity for someone like GameRail [gamerail.com], a high speed network that directly connects online game players to the servers that host popular FPS titles. GameRail peers directly with ISPs, universities and game server providers (GSPs). The question is whether game server hosts see usefulness in that type of middleman. The answer to that question might change in some of the scenarios imagined int eh article.

  • Let's say this comes to pass and that all real-time gaming grinds to a halt. What happens then?

    The way I see it, it will force the MMORPG genre to the local level. I can imagine about 20+ or so people playing games like Diablo2 with one computer opting to host as the server. Or, maybe a game like WoW where the server runs at your ISP and all its members can connect to it.

    It doesn't sound all that bad when you think about it. I personally would rather be playing an MMORPG with only local players from my city
  • Please, think of the night elves!
  • In fact, any interactive communications could stand to take a dive (VOIP, streaming video, etc) with the advent of Net Neutrality legislation.

    Um, no. That's not what TFA says. TFA says those thing are all threatened by the absence of net neutrality legislation.

    Of course, TFA also says that gaming shouldn't really be threatened, because without net neutrality, ISPs are better off leaving gaming alone and taxing Google and monopolizing VOIP. (Though given the scale of the gaming industry, I can't see them n

  • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @06:09PM (#16958058) Homepage
    Every Time You Vote Against Net Neutrality, Your ISP Kills a Night Elf

    As a member of The Horde I will have to vote against net neutrality then.
  • The wet dream of these companies is to be able to set up the same sort of pricing system mobile phone carriers now enjoy. Charge for different types of usage. Charge a given fee for basic browsing and email. Want to download movies? Pay extra. Want to play online games? Pay even more. Go over your allotted bandwidth? You're going to be charged 50 cents for every Mb over your limit.

    Companies are desperately seeking new ways to nickle and dime customers to the most ridiculous degree. So many companies today a
    • I'm all for the free market, but this isn't free market in action. This is companies trying to get legislation enacted which give some companies and unfair competitive advantage.

      Actually, the free market would say that new ISP's would fill the void, offering good service at good prices. If there's money to be made in offering unfettered bandwidth at $xx, then somebody will do it, because demand will be there.
  • Agreed that non-neutral nets may be very unpleasant for users. However, The Internet is all about choice, and sufficient numbers of people have enough that non-neutrality will likely never grow beyond niche:

    Look at the server end: Online biz (especially big biz like gaming, maybe VoIP) will make bloody sure they've good good pipes. They pay kilobucks per month with negotiated service levels, and ping _will_ be good. They'll switch backbones to get it.

    End users have less negotiation power, but signific

  • From TFA:
    he move will not be aimed at restricting usage per se, but rather to extract a fee from the game operator.
    Or, from the end user.

    Gaming will not die. Yes there will be a hiccup but within 3-5 years there will be a new normal.

    If Net Neutrality fails and ISPs are free to treat different traffic differently, you can expect high-demand features like low-latency traffic to require a premium from either the end-user or some other sponsor, such as a game company or an advertiser.

    You sort-of-kind-of have t
  • Vote against Net Neutrality, everybody, so those pesky purple skinned elves can go extinct.

    FOR THE HORDE!

  • by The Master Control P (655590) <ejkeever&nerdshack,com> on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @07:39PM (#16959184)
    If network neutrality harmed gaming, why isn't it hurting how?

    Network neutrality means that you don't discriminate for or against packets based on origin or destination.

    Your ISP should be free to discriminate with HTTP, BitTorrent, VoIP, and game traffic (for or against). Why? Because things like QoS are necessary to a properly functioning network... It's fine if HTTP is 500ms latency, not if VoIP is, so packets for time-critical services get priority (to a point). Your ISP should be absolutely forbidden from discriminating against HTTP traffic from Google because Google refused to pay protection money, because that is exactly what made the Internet great.

    So, here it is: The Network Neutrality Act
    1) No ISP, herein defined as an entity providing access to remote services ("The Internet") for a regular fee, shall be permitted to perform any form of Internet traffic shaping based upon the source or destination of said traffic.
    2. Any ISP found in violation of this act shall be fined an amount equal to 2% of its entire last fiscal year's net revenue per day that it remains in contravention of this act.

    I'd love to see the first ISP that tries discriminating after this... heh.
  • They already sell (on plenty of ISPs, Speakeasy pops to mind) gamer ADSL packages now which decent low-latency servers for a bunch of games.

    Paying your extra dollars a month gets you a better experience. We ALREADY experience the effect
    that a lack of Net Neutrality would get us, which is a-la-carte bandwidth options from our ISP
    depending on what services we want to provide. ISPs already kill off bandwidth to newsgroups (but
    not for their OWN news servers which you may have to pay extra for), throttle P2P or
  • Hey, I know a simple way to ensure that "big tube providers" get a fair compensation (which will ensure the incentivization of "more, bigger, faster tubes" while still preventing innovative, small, budding companies from being service fee-ed into oblivion. Come out with a simple and reasonable rate sheet (should all fit on one page), and have it only apply to companies with over $10 million in gross revenue.
  • by jonwil (467024) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @08:59PM (#16959978)
    Basicly, there are 2 things that I think ISPs should be forbidden from doing
    1.They should be forbidden from discriminating on network packets based on source or destination address
    and 2.They should be forbidden from limiting the physical bandwidth available to a given network protocol (blocking it e.g. port25 or virus ports is different and is perfectly ok, what I am talking about is the practice of port shaping so that e.g. BitTorrent is cut down so its effectivly operating on a slower link)
    • 1. OK

      2. Some services require a certain bandwidth to work at all. VOIP is the most common example. If BT is on the same link VOIP has to get priority.

       
  • NOTICE: You can have "Free Pluralist Republic Net-Neutrality" or you can have "Plutocratic Corporate Communism Net-Nepotism", but under no circumstances will you have both!

    THEREFOR: Government based on special interest politics, economics, and religion, then spiced with xenophobia of other dogmatic devils [AKA: HUMANS] has determined that a semiliterate elitist culture is better served by Net-Nepotism.

    ALSO: Any opposition/objection by the many to the few Fiat-Rulers will be severely punished with "NO INTE
  • by Allnighterking (74212) on Thursday November 23, 2006 @03:05AM (#16962210) Homepage
    Right now the US is in a situation where they are no longer the "majority" of the tech elite. India, China, Brazil, Souoth Korea and others are fast moving from suppliers of the US pot to being able to just say "Screw the US, we don't need them." As we move forward onto a less neutral net the end result will be nothing less than a mass exodus of cutting edge technology from the US to other countries.

    The EU, China, India all provide single currency markets that are larger than the US market, if not now then very soon. So the power the US market had won't last much longer. The question is if the US throws up too many barriers to the market will the market adjust or, just move on to greener, and easier to graze, grass.

    With the loss of the technical edge in market, will it also result in a loss of technology development. To we finally become a market made up of people selling things to each other.
  • I have been involved with ISPs one way or another for something coming close to twenty years now, and so far, we've never needed legislation on this topic. In fact, we've done pretty well without it.

    Most of the time, when people describe a proposed "net neutrality" rule, the rule they propose is something to the effect of "you may not discriminate against particular networks just because you feel they use a disproportionate amount of your traffic". So, for instance, I can't tarpit spammers, because that's

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