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Net Neutrality: Why the Gaming Industry Should Pay Attention

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If you’ve logged into Facebook account, scrolled down your twitter timeline, or explored your Instagram in the last week, it’s extremely likely that you’ve come across several posts on “Net Neutrality” but what exactly is net neutrality and why does it matter? Net Neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites. Simply put, this means that net neutrality prevents internet service providers (ISP) from establishing the digital equivalent of toll roads and taxing all websites, and applications additional fees to make their way to your computer. Able to pay the fee, then you’ve earned yourself access to the fast lane which ends at a consumer’s computer, phone or tablet.

“When you go online you have certain expectations. You expect to be connected to whatever website you want. You expect that your cable or phone company isn’t messing with the data and is connecting you to all websites, applications and content you choose. You expect to be in control of your internet experience.

When you use the internet you expect Net Neutrality, and net neutrality is the way that the internet has always worked but FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, wants to destroy Net Neutrality. And on May 18, the FCC voted to let Pai’s internet-killing plan move forward. Without Net Neutrality, cable and phone companies could carve the internet into fast and slow lanes. An ISP could slow down its competitors’ content or block political opinions it disagreed with. ISPs could charge extra fees to the few content companies that could afford to pay for preferential treatment — relegating everyone else to a slower tier of service. This would destroy the open internet.”

Many people are talking about the implications that losing net neutrality would have and gamers should pay attention for good reason. Losing net neutrality would mean that access to your favorite games and platforms could be slowed significantly or blocked all-together, based on their willingness or ability to pay new fees imposed upon them by internet service providers. Imagine not purchasing a game strictly because of the fact that your ISP wont support it. Major blockbuster games and franchises won’t be hit as hard based on their large budgets but think of indie developers and other industry underdogs. Those fees could be the difference between a funded open beta/functional multiplayer lobby, and an idea that stayed on paper. Creativity would be stifled, and creativity is what defines the gaming industry. Creating new worlds outside of societal norms, and not having it dictated by the internet giants.  Imagine if the video below was how most of your games ran.

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