Broadband speeds holding back games industry
When you work in an industry that is worth $50bn annually and growth to $90bn is forecast you would expect the major figures to carry some clout when they talk. The games industry is the biggest entertainment sector in the world, and Ian Livingstone of Eidos has been talking about the impact of broadband on the industry at the Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam.
"We’re fighting broadband, you’re holding us back, in many ways. We have to worry about broadband when we should be thinking about making better games."Ian Livingstone Life President of Eidos
While it is true that as games move to ever more realistic graphics which result in larger map updates and downloads of 2 or 3GB in size, it should be remembered that even though broadband is not the perfect 2ms latency and 100 Mbps downloads we would all love, that the games industry has grown to be the largest sector even with all the limitations of broadband.
This is not just a UK problem, but one facing every country, game coders need to have network code that can cope with the 2 or 3% of gamers on gigabit fibre connections and those on very old legacy 0.5 Mbps ADSL packages with interleaving applied where latency may be 50 or 60ms. One problem arising from the roll-out of more fibre based broadband has been people using FTTC services complaining about lag compensation as the game code adds latency artifically to these best connections to bring them in line with most users who are on ADSL and ADSL2+. Some have solved this by ensuring when playing CLAN games that they all use similar types of connections, which can be difficult with the wide variation of service availability.
The Telecoms.com article covers also the rapid rise of the mobile gaming industry, but this is heading the same way as the home console market, where while games like Angry Birds are pretty light on bandwidth, there are a growing number of mobile games with additional 0.5GB downloads after the initial purchase.