ESA Says Net Neutrality Appeal Could Harm Multiplayer Games

ESA, a games lobbying group and E3 organizer, has adorned its boxing gloves and announced its joining of the ongoing lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission over the appeal of net neutrality.

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This marks the first time, in any official manner, the video game industry has taken a stand on the controversial issue.

For those abroad or participating in a never-ending rager in some other galaxy, back in December 2017, the Federal Communications Commission become one of the talking points of the year when it overturned a ‘net neutrality’ policy that was implemented by the previous U.S. presidential administration.

According to The Hill, the ESA actually applied to join the lawsuit against the FCC earlier this week, claiming the appeal goes against the direct interests of the video game industry. More specifically, the organization argued that the repeal will harm multiplayer online games that require robust Internet connections, which is most popular games these days.

The ESA accompanied the announcement with the following official statement:

“Absent these protections, ESA and its member companies will have no effective legal recourse against broadband provider conduct that impairs consumers’ online video game experiences.

“In particular, broadband providers are now permitted to engage in practices that degrade consumers’ traffic. That, in turn, could have significant consequences for the enjoyment of multiplayer online games and cloud-based gameplay services, both of which require low latency connections to support rapid and continuous interactivity.

“Unlike streamed movies or music, games cannot be buffered to compensate for problems with the broadband connection. Degradation of consumers’ traffic could also impact game distribution networks, which depend upon adequate and consistent bandwidth to deliver large file downloads in a timely manner. ESA therefore supports enforceable open internet protections that have helped fuel dynamic growth, competition, and innovation in the video game industry.”

What the repeal will actually spell for the gaming industry remains to be seen. As you may know, from online services offered by platfrom providers, to the increasing amount of games that require and heavily rely on fast Internet connections, the video game industry and online Internet connection are an increasingly committed marriage. And thus it makes sense the ESA would get involved in this developing policy debate.

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