Saturday, November 7

HSI providers put kink in Next Gen DLC plans

After 2 years and a hand slap from the FCC, Comcast comes clean on its plans for bandwith restrictions. Click the link for all the Gritty details and a link to the official FCC filing. Essentially it states that if you are a bandwith hog your traffic will be throttled down. In addition a 250GB a month limit on total data is impossed.

The implications of such a policy seems to work in direct conflict with current industry trends. It seems that all three major players in the console war, Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft are shooting for a greater degree of downloadable content. Combine this with the current generation increase in online gaming, video streaming through Netflix, and media hub programs like PlayOn and Tversity, and you start to see why this is a major issue. So far Comcast is the only ISP to take these steps but its only a matter of time before other players start to reduce the amount of data you download.

If we combine this trend with the lack of penetration of true high speed internet throughout many countries, the US being one of the worst among developed nations. Currently the FCC regulations on ISPs state that 128kb/s is all that is required to be considered an HSI provider. If you have ever tried playing an online deathmatch over a legacy type DSL connection you know this is a bogus standard since you get pwned by those on FIOS and Cable services who's much faster and provide better refresh rates. The release of the PSPgo is proof that console makers are testing the waters of pure DLC platforms, but these limitations of bandwidth makes you wonder if the industry getting ahead of themselves. If they release the next gen of consoles with DLC only platforms, will we end up with a $500 dollar machine that takes 2days to get a game for?

There's a lot to be considered before such a direction is taken.

11/06/2009 David Allison

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