I’ve covered PBS Digital Studios’ YouTube series Game/Show before regarding the harm fanboys/fangirls cause the gaming industry, but the show also covers some other apolitical, light topics like the morality of cheating in games and love for all things Zelda. In a recent episode of Game/Show, host Jamin Warren takes on the timely topic of net neutrality, and more specifically, how it impacts the gaming industry and ourselves, the gamers. Though this episode of Game/Show only focuses on the smaller part of the net neutrality debate from the side of online gaming and digital distribution, it’s a topic that’s relevant to gamers, tech aficionados like myself, and people who work, make a living, and spend time contributing and browsing the internet (also like myself).
For those who are uninitiated in the current topic, net neutrality is the idea that Internet service providers allow all web traffic, regardless of its source, to reach consumers with the same urgency. However, many internet service providers (ISPs, like Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon & AT&T; as well as some members of Congress affiliated and earning pay-offs from them) would rather see a lack of net neutrality, allowing the ISPs to offer certain content creators preferential treatment with faster speeds instead of a basic, slower speed; this would likely open the door to a tiered fee structure. Here’s an example: let’s say Google (pro-net neutrality) wants its search results to reach consumers as fast as possible, they’d need to pay these extra fees to avoid experiencing throttled web traffic. This also effect online gaming, digital download distribution and streaming from services like PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, Steam, Nintendo Network, and Origin among others. The bigger problem is that while large corporations would, likely, have NO (financial) PROBLEM paying these extra fees, smaller content creators (like indy game companies, game sites, and bloggers — like myself) could be priced out of the market, prohibiting this basic freedom that’s been part of the Internet since its inception and creation.
WATCH John Oliver Explain Net Neutrality in 13 Minutes on “Last Week Tonight”
I should also note that unlike your ISP, PBS has no direct monetary interest in the topic of net neutrality.