"We have to worry about broadband when we should be thinking about making better games." - Eidos Presdent Ian Livingstone at the Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam, October 17, 2012.
Kyle Orland reports in Ars Technica on Livingstone's comments about the chemistry between broadband service providers and the gaming industry. While broadband speeds continue to increase slowly, strides in the gaming industry have outpaced the needed capabilities for network-based gaming.
Livingstone, speaking at the World Forum in Amsterdam, addressed his comments to telecommunications operators when he complained "You're kind of holding us back in many respects.″ Also from the Orland story:
But it doesn't have to be that way. Livingstone urged the delegates to increase their bandwidth capacity beyond what is needed at the moment. He drew an analogy to the London sewer system of the 19th century, which was designed at six times the necessary capacity to prevent the need for later upgrades.
Infrastructure should be sized for future uses, not present. And though we generally focus on the failure of U.S. providers, many people in other countries are also dealing with slow networks. The incredible investment of Australia's National Broadband Network (providing FTTH to over 90% of the population) is the exception, not the rule.
But many countries are figuring this out and developing plans for improvement... unlike a U.S. that sets policy based on what is best for AT&T and Comcast, not small businesses and residents.
Mary Lennighan from totaltelecom reports:
The gaming industry is currently worth $50 billion [internationally] and is predicted to grow to $90 billion by 2015. ″The games industry is big... it's the largest entertainment industry in the world,″ said Livingstone.
″Games are now moving from a product to a service,″ he explained, with revenues from network sales expected to surpass those from packaged, physical goods next year.
″The message is: build bigger pipes and we'll try not to fill them,″ he said. ″ISPs, please do not rest on your laurels.″
Gamers living in Chattanooga, Lafayette, and other areas with community-owned networks can take advantage of next-generation games but are nonetheless limited by the reality that the whole industry won't invest commit to building games that depend on such high capacity networks until they are more widely available.
No community has built a network just to benefit gamers, just as no town builds roads just for the pizza delivery companies. But the full range of benefits from faster, more reliable networks are many and rarely considered when investment decisions are made.