A broadband tiered-pricing trial by Time-Warner Cable has rankled many, particularly gamers, who fear sock-it-to-me overages incurred by online gaming. Sony, Microsoft and OnLive have now weighed in, and they're not too worried.
The three companies, who manage three of the leading online gaming services (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, OnLive), had the following to say to MTV Multiplayer's Stephen Totilo. Again: These tiers have not been implemented yet. They will first be implemented in trials in August, in Rochester, N.Y. and Greensboro, N.C. Then they will go to San Antonio and Austin, Texas in October. No word on when it would take effect anywhere else.
Sony: "For most average users [Time-Warner's] 60GB plan is more than suitable for their PlayStation Network download needs," said Abigail Murphy, spokeswoman for Sony Computer Entertainment America. Murphy estimated that PSN multiplayers use anywhere from 25 to 55 MB per hour, and "significantly less" when they're in PlayStation Home. The 60GB "Turbo" plan will run $54.90 a month.
Microsoft: Straight boilerplate, which right now means little other than they're not too worried. ""We're watching these tiering proposals as they evolve. Microsoft supports an environment in which users can access the content, applications and services of their choice, provided their activities are lawful and fall within the scope of their user agreements." No estimates of what kind of throughput gamers incur for multiplayer or streaming Netflix.
OnLive: Its business is centered on a choice between standard-definition and high-def gaming, with no hardware necessary. Low-def gaming would need about 350MB per hour; high-def, around 950Mb. But founder Steve Perlman is not (yet?) troubled by Time-Warner's posture. "Bandwidth caps will be bumped into by conventional movie/TV viewing WAY before we start seeing OnLive users bumping into them," Perlman said. "It will be a very long time before OnLive comes anywhere near the broadband penetration of YouTube, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon, mtv, abc/nbc/cbs/fox/hbo.com, etc., if ever. So, we won't be the ones testing this issue."
Sony, MS, OnLive Weigh In On Tiered Internet Pricing [MTV Multiplayer]