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Reader Comments (7)

Posted: Jan 20th 2008 3:55PM Ghen said

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Hopefully Verizon won't follow suit. Cable companies seem to be the only ones backing this sort of gamer tax so far.

Posted: Jan 20th 2008 7:00PM (Unverified) said

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It's a college town. Lots of high usage bittorrent kiddies. Good for test.

Posted: Jan 20th 2008 7:50PM Arashikou said

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Do we have any information on what prices they actually plan to charge for various tiers of data usage are? Until we see that, it's hard to compare to the current system and know if gamers are probably going to pay more or less than under the "one size fits all" scheme.

I don't think we want to call this a "gamers tax" just yet - it seems pretty clearly aimed at file sharing, to me. Remember, while online games are connected to the internet (and thus sucking up bandwidth) the whole time you use them, the actual amount of data they send and receive is fairly small. MMOs benefit from larger pipes to the series of tubes not because they can send MORE data (most games don't come close to maxing out even the most basic broadband connection) but because this is usually accompanied by a decrease in the time data takes to reach its destination. And games are very sensetive to how long it takes their little bit of data to get to the server.

Do not misunderstand me - gamers, by product of being online more, would undoubtedly pay more under such a system than Grandma who only uses the internet to check her e-mail and weather. But I don't think we should jump to the conclusion that we are part of the 5% they want to charge extra just yet. (Disregarding, of course, the high incidence between being a gamer and being a heavy file sharer.) The devil is in the details - whether the tier most gamers fall at, with our long-running but low-bandwidth-using connections, would be more or less than the current price.

One thing we probably would get hit by is the fact that most of us download fairly large patches on an irregular basis. I wonder if wide adoption of such a system would encourage developers to seek out new ways of reducing the size of their patches, as a service to their users. Also, it would be interesting to see how games based on different paradigms fare in such a system where you pay for usage. Obviously the bandwidth used by a game that streams in new content as needed (Second Life) is going to be significantly greater than the bandwidth used by a game where all the content is already on the user's PC. (WoW, Tabula Rasa, etc.) Something like this could really mess with the balance sheets for some Second Life-based businesses.

Regardless of their choice of test site, I hope they do more tests than just this one. Different towns have different usages - some have more file sharers, some have more gamers, and some have more grandmas. (Or is this going to be like most MMOs? The "launch" is really the second beta period? ;) ) But I think it's too soon to call this a "gamers tax."

Posted: Jan 21st 2008 8:39AM Ghen said

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Don't forget, gamers use tons of upload. Thats what cable companies hate about us. Downloading 4Mb/s on a 6Mb/s connection isn't nearly as bad as uploading 700Kb/s on a 768Kb/s connection.

I doubt it will be priced solely on the amount transferred but a percentage of both speeds that you use as well.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2008 9:37AM (Unverified) said

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Well, out where I am we don't have flat-rate connections. We pay by the byte or by the second or both. The going rate for data is 11.5 cents per million bytes (the ISPs work in round millions and call those 'megabytes' - I presume as a marketing thing rather than out of sheer ignorance).

Your basic plan is a bit better than that (but still very expensive), and if you exceed it most ISPs will either cut you cold (if they're feeling nice), rate-limit you to 28.8Kbps (which lets you at least get and send email) or charge you 11-15 cents per million bytes in excess.

That's why we don't have free wifi or anything. It costs an absolute fortune to run!

Posted: Jan 21st 2008 9:45AM (Unverified) said

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Now would be a good time to jump on Verizon's FiOS band wagon! (

Posted: Jan 21st 2008 9:49AM (Unverified) said

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Wow, the comment system ate the last 90% of my post. I basically just said that this could make their operating costs dip while only losing them a relatively small amount of customers. And even gain some low-use customers.

Either way I won't touch cable again.


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