Net Neutrality Is a Major Issue for Games, Oddworld Creator Says

Lorne Lanning thinks losing net neutrality will stifle the indie community, but that gamers won’t care until it affects their bottom line.

The ability to release games digitally has allowed indie developers to thrive and made possible less mainstream projects like Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty, a remake of Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee. But Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning thinks that losing net neutrality could prevent future development of such games.

"My biggest concern is what's happening in the White House with what's happening with the FCC and what's happening with the telecom companies trying to basically get more of all of our pie," Lanning told GameIndustry International in an interview. “These are multinational, enormous corporations and if they get their way, they could stifle this indie community in the media. They could start really clamping the dial and taking away the revenue that we've finally been able to find that we can get, that allows us to keep going... Today on a $10 product, we get $7. Well what if $2 of that has to start going to AT&T or Comcast? That could very easily happen.”

Lanning said that gamers should be voting with this issue in mind, and that they should support the Entertainment Consumers Association and other lobby groups (like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, for example) that are fighting for net neutrality. However, he doesn’t think they will until they feel the negative effects of losing net neutrality directly.

“Sadly I think that's how the general public tends to operate,” Lanning said. “There are more people in this country that are struggling financially than probably in the history of the country, and as a result they're just not really paying attention to things that aren't affecting their bottom line, their purse. But if they start getting charged $10 a night for that overnight session that they like playing, I think they're going to vote."

Back in March, Lanning said development on a brand new Oddworld title can begin if Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty sells 500,000 copies.

Do you agree with Lanning on net neutrality? Tell us in the comments below.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg and Google+.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer in search of the Citizen Kane of burritos.

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Discussion

137 comments
megakick
megakick

Better be safe and buy a Wii U.

Hellbishop
Hellbishop

It really does not matter to me if there is Net Neutrality or not. Its the all mighty dollar that talks when it comes to decisions. When consumers go to other forms of entertainment due to cheaper costs companies will have to adapt or perish in the economic landscape. As for people's rights and civil liberties being trampled on that's all bogus fear mongering which seems to be the con man's rally call of the mob mentality these days.


Now if you don't mind I have some COMPANY OF HEROES 2 and FALLOUT 3 to enjoy.

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

This is not just an issue about gaming, losing net neutrality would be a huge blow to everyone in regards to the internet it self. Even the FCC came out and stated losing net neutrality would be a blow to American core rights as the freedom of speech. The far right push by lobbying dollars from corporations have positioned themselves in key positions on capital hill and senate committees- this is similar to a telecommunication corporations push to charge fees like ATM fees for doing nothing. It would hold consumers hostage accessibility and start-ups to content.  

Do like I did and write a letter or email to your Senators - promising a NO vote if they DO vote against removing net neutrality.  

vackillers
vackillers

Think this could be inherently dangerous to everyone if mega corporations and goverments get full control of the internet because of how this will fundermentally change our lives forever, how much everything will cost, and how everyone will be handcuffed with absolutely no ability to do anything about it when its already too late. Lot of people have written some good posts below about this and I just hope that people do realize what the potential dangers for this sort of internet takeover can mean to everything. Goverments and major corporations have been trying to gain control of the internet almost since is was first born but not that global economies are all tied in together via the internet, we could loose total control of our own buisnesses, life styles and information that we find that is currently free for everyone to see.


To me this is a really serious issue and shouldn't be laughed at, as someone pointed out below even if the FCC had its court ruling against control, I fear it really is only a matter of time before they find a work around first initial judgement. Must always know whats going on with these sorts of laws that is in direct conflict of the Constitution of the U.S and basic freedom around the world.

OneMoreFireball
OneMoreFireball

I feel like this guy (Lorne Lanning) is always complaining about something in articles.

Lambchopzin
Lambchopzin

I'm typically very anti-regulation/anti-government, but this is one of those times where I will absolutely make an exception to that ideology -- net neutrality is in my mind the lynchpin of the internet, and I do think there is a very real case for considering ISPs common carriers. Internet access really has become a crucial part of modern life, it's becoming less of a privilege and more of a necessity as more and more of our daily lives are weaved into it.


And yes, naturally losing net neutrality would have a major impact on video games. We would likely see prices go up, and it would be much, much harder for small developers to thrive. We may as well say good bye to the recent boom of indie games if this should happen, and that's bad for everybody, even if you don't tend to like indies.

pyro1245
pyro1245

If net neutrality ceases to be a thing, everyone loses.

Baconelite
Baconelite

That guy in the picture looks like Aragorn from the Lord of the Rings movies.

thrombosis45
thrombosis45

Stifling indie games would be the best thing to ever happen to gaming, net neutrality is looking good here. Kids, if you want to play SNES level games, just buy a SNES...or just set up an emulator on your PC.

wexorian
wexorian

Who are against net neutrality or don't care , when games will became 70$,when some many sites will became subscription based only and when some websites who don't pay extra cash for internet providers will became slow or even won't be able to connect to them we will see petitions etc, till that they don't care ...............

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

The day i get charged daily for a game, is the day i stop gaming forever. Thats why i dont support microtransactions, i dont support Subscription gaming. I dont support Comcast. The only thing i pay for is internet monthly fees now and full games for 1 price.

festivalfiend
festivalfiend

I wish this guy would shutup already. You made one good game over a decade ago - get over yourself. He's nearly as bad as the guy who made Just Cause that never shuts up

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

fck all of these institutions, FCC, FDA, all of them, TSA, NSA. heavy copyright laws that sue people for using a similar name. its all a joke. They are all terrible terrible organisations. Id like to see EVERYONE, and i mean EVERYONE stop supporting comcast. 

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Net neutrality is important for anyone who streams media.  Multiplayer games do that, with the added requirement that it be low latency.  Digital distribution platforms do that.


Do we want a world where Comcast charges you $20 extra per month for the "Gamer class" connection, otherwise add 100ms to your ping?

jeffgost
jeffgost

The saddest thing is that the media is not giving much attention to it..

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

The FCC is still accepting comments on "net neutrality." I am reluctant to comment because just calling for "net neutrality" is pointless after the court ruling that the FCC has no authority to regulate as telecommunication service what it classifies as information service, which is what it did to ISP. I am tempted to throw my support behind reclassifying ISP as telecommunication service, but I don't know enough about Title 2 of the Communications Act or Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act to conclude which one of them is more appropriate. I know those legislations are complex, but I am still hoping to hear more simplified, to-the-point arguments for and against in discussion (probably not on Gamespot).

demonkingx5
demonkingx5

I agree people don't care till it affect them & its sad WOLF-PAC.com

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

I am all for net neutrality, but with other political issues in front of it, I don't hear anything from politicians about their positions, except in the general sense of business regulation. I don't know whom to vote for, what regulatory or legislative action to support, or anything else a democratic citizen might do.

So far, the only substantial discussion I've personally heard on net neutrality is how the FCC decided not to categorize Internet as an utility but then tried to regulate it as such, Verizon and maybe some others sued and the courts basically slapped the FCC in the face for trying to have its cake and eat it too. So now, the FCC can only issue non-binding recommendations, or whatever they call it, to encourage net neutrality principles, which is BS because for-profit businesses are not in the business of public service.

niccodemarini
niccodemarini

I swear the older I get the shittier things seem to be

mkdms14
mkdms14

Speaking of Net Neutrality John Oliver did an excellent job explained how messed up it is on his weekly HBO show that he does.

gunnmetal
gunnmetal

basically throttling is not net neutrality. netflix is being throttled. probably youtube soon. 

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

Move all development studios away from the US and when the White House loses out on billions a year in taxes and revenue and thousands of people lose jobs the pathetic politicians will realise how stupid they really are.

blkgto
blkgto

@Hellbishop Well if you don't vote you don't get to bitch about it later on. 

blkgto
blkgto

@OneMoreFireball This is kind of a serious issue.  Is this really lost on you?  I really hope not.

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

@Lambchopzin I could see this also impacting some of the bigger companies that don't have as much political influence... 


spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@Lambchopzin  Sometimes government intervention into everyday life is a very good thing.  I'm also glad we have the FDA, EPA, FDIC, SEC, federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, etc.

People tend to think businesses are going to be so moral, but they're simply not, (we too often fall prey to the "my daddy owns a gas station or a farm and he's a good guy, therefore all business people are good" reasoning).  And we have no control over who is going to be CEO of Comcast, but the people have control over who is going to be the President of the US (well typically, with the exception of George W's first term).

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@Baconelite  I thought the guy in the picture looks a lot like Lorne Lanning, but I guess that shows what I know. :)


spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@thrombosis45  That's a huge over-generalization of indie games.  Was the first Payday game a SNES-like game, for example?

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

Your IQ is far too low to be giving others advise. Indie games are the only thing preventing every AAA game from being another COD.

jellyman68
jellyman68

Indie games don't hurt your experience in any way and people play them for the gameplay, not the graphics. Simply telling people to go play a SNES shows that you're missing the point entirely.

cratecruncher
cratecruncher

@thrombosis45  That's just silly.  Not having large teams and huge promotional budgets, indies have to make their way through innovative gameplay and unusual settings.  If the concept is good word-of-mouth can promote the game very fast because of net neutrality. Hello Games new title No Man's Sky is a good example.  I don't know if the game will be great or even good but you can bet that Ubisoft and Bethesda are looking closely at it to adopt some of it's ideas.  Indie games provide the spark of innovation and take the risks that big companies with huge piles of money are unwilling to take.  Maybe you'd want to keep playing the same old boring retreads but I don't. 

Sethalos
Sethalos

@wexorian And it's that naive, uneducated attitude that is the problem. It's happening now with Comcast and Netflix. The bottom line is that you will pay more for less. You pay your ISP a monthly fee for a certain amount of Bandwidth, and they have decided that you are not going to get that bandwidth unless certain sites pay them more. There's much more to it, but that is a big part. You should care, and should get very pissed off.

Hellbishop
Hellbishop

@nyran125tk  That's why it doesn't matter to me if Net Neutrality stays or goes. In the end its all about the money. If it isn't there then companies will have to adapt or die as customers go to other cheaper forms of entertainment. All this fear talk about amendment rights is bs. Reminds me of the same talk the porn industry used back in the 1970s even waving the American flag in the beginning of their videos. Yea I watch a lot of porn. 

da_chub
da_chub

But there are too many idiots who willing pay for monthly subscriptions and are now the same ones complaining about this article.

I 100% agree with you. I only play games that i pay 1 time for and settle for gaming on a old school system for the rest of my life.

wexorian
wexorian

@festivalfiend Umm mad? it's not about oddworld it's about net neutrality if you want to trash game go other place....

Sun-Tzu-GE
Sun-Tzu-GE

@jeffgost The media is losing money because of the internet.More and more people are turning to independent news and entertainment on the internet these days and the mainstream media is not happy about it.

AK_the_Twilight
AK_the_Twilight

@mkdms14 Yes, and the way John Oliver's video spread virally across the internet is promising. That video got so much exposure that we're finally starting to see prominent voices in media get that point across. I'm very happy that Lorne Lanning is voicing his opinion too: he's an awesome game developer and a strong arm in the indie scene.

Sohereiam
Sohereiam

@Dannystaples14 No they won't, they will keep making excuses and blaming everyone else for their mistakes, look at game industry... not just game industry the whole entertainment industry: DRM, DLC's, Clouds, Streaming and many other forms of internet business in current times that didn't work or just back fired, they blame everyone except themselves, they shot at sky, and when the bullet fall on someone head its the person fault for being in the place the bullet fell, and anyone who defends the real victim is a criminal, pirates, terrorist, anti-patriotic, etc...

thrombosis45
thrombosis45

@jellyman68 Nope, people play them because they are cheap and no other reason. I'm sick and tired of reading bullshit hipster posts like these, if people didn't care about graphics we'd all still have Atari 2600s, wouldn't we.

blkgto
blkgto

@Sethalos @wexorian 
Nobody pays attention to anything anymore.  People are so wrapped up in twitter and facebook, and their own dumbassed, uninformed opinions, that they are completely oblivious to whats going on in the world around them.  The idea is to put a stop to this before it gets out of control.

khankalili
khankalili

@Sun-Tzu-GE @jeffgost 

That's because they are stuck in the past and are trying to make new rules enforcing their aged vision of how things work. Companies that embrace the new way make money and have a future.

Of course it's only a matter of time before these new companies fall into the same pattern as the old ones. Then we can have this discussion all over again, just like we did with the printing press/radio/television/etc.

mkeezay22
mkeezay22

@thrombosis45 @jellyman68  I play Space Engineers because it's awesome, I played games like Limbo and Gogs because they were insanely fun, lots of great indie titles have come out.

Yes people want good graphics but they also want good gameplay, and in almost any situation what would you prefer, a nice pretty game with no fun gameplay or a game with tons of fun gameplay that's lacking in visuals, I prefer the latter any day.

pyro1245
pyro1245

@thrombosis45 @jellyman68 The Hipster phenomenon astounds me. Particularly the people doing the name calling. Each time a see a diatribe against The Hipster the definition provided is personal and subjective. It says about as much about the person as it does their target of wrath. Thankfully, these diatribes seem to be becoming more popular, so I'm getting more data. Soon I'll track down The One True Hipster!

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

Dismissive hipster insult, typical. Your the only one that you are screwing, when you put down what you don't understand. I guess with your logic no one should enjoy a movie that doesn't have high quality CGI, and a paper thin plot. Enjoy being blissfully ignorant.