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H7: Would you prefer 2D or 3D townscreens?
I don't care.
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News  → Slow Broadband Holds Back Gaming

When Heroes VI first came out, I didn't play it. The reason was the online system. The game needed to be patched with large files which had to be downloaded through the in-game updater. Also, much of the game was built around the Conflux and the Dynasty system, so I could not play the game with the full pot of bonuses and features. So I stayed away for months, basically just playing through the bugged campaigns in offline mode to see if it was worth my attention.

The reason for this was that until fairly recently, I did not have a very good broadband connection, only a poor mobile broadband connected through a USB modem, useless for anything more than normal web browsing. Naturally, I was shouting at Ubisoft for making the game so dependent on online features, but there's another side to the story as well. As Eidos executive Ian Livingstone explains:

"To keep up with the growing demands of the games marketplace, what we need is super-speed broadband. The games industry is big it's the largest entertainment industry in the world (...) It's kind of crazy that we're fighting broadband the whole time in our industry. You're kind of holding us back in many respects."

In a 20-minute presentation, Livingstone told the telecom operators in the audience that a great expansion in the world's broadband infrastructure is required to keep up with the rising demands of the gaming industry. I've been saying this for years, but mostly I have been shouting at the gaming industry; I realize now that there are two sides to this coin:

I maintain that game producers need to take into account that there are people out there with slow connections, releasing their big patches and other files in torrent form, enabling download away from home, as well as removing the need for a constant and quick connection for actual play. However, the service providers also need a wake-up call. They need to take into account that most people nowadays have need of more than dial-up; even reading the online papers takes ages nowadays of you have a slow line ... let alone downloading 200MB patches.

ThunderTitan at 2012-11-04 16:53 wrote:
Spin at 2012-10-30 00:35 wrote:
<br>What's going on outside Europe? Seems like you live in the Internet middle ages. :p
<br>Do all ISP's have traffic limits in Australia? We used to have such limits, when DSL was first introduced, but we're about 10 years past that, now.

In Australia every ISP still offers download limits, then they shape you to real Middle Ages internet (128k). They do offer unlimited plans (or higher download plans), they're slowly becoming more affordable, but right now most people still have 50Gb/month or so of download limits. Internet traffic in Australia is a bit of an issue (that's why they impose download limits), but we're currently putting Fibre Optic cables in all our streets and in 5 years time it'll fix itself.

hellegennes at 2012-10-29 13:49 wrote:
True, but a) I wasn't even aware that there are still lines that are so slow and b) these are not broadband connections; the article speaks about slow broadband.

Kalah at 2012-10-26 00:25 wrote:
See? Slow lines reduce your option to leaving your house, either to d/l patches or play the game itself.. It's just not good enough. We want fast lines and we want games that can work quite well offline.

Fuddelbaerentatze at 2012-10-25 22:12 wrote:
my family owns the house and we are not ready to give it up for the sake of a fast broadband connection ... so I guess I have to go without fast internet connection.

Maybee I should buy a gaming notebook and visit places like fast food restaurants or the public library for gaming where decent broadband is available ;)
Edited on Thu, Oct 25 2012, 18:12 by Fuddelbaerentatze

hellegennes at 2012-10-24 20:16 wrote:

Consider moving. :p

Fuddelbaerentatze at 2012-10-24 19:20 wrote:
My internet conection speed was the same for the last 11 years and will stay the same for the forseable future because there are no other options available in the street where I live: 125kbps downstream and 16kbps upstream. Connecting to the conflux often needs like half a dozen attempts, synching savegames hardly ever works. And to make things even worse 2 streets away from my house broadband connections are available with 50mbps downstream and 2,5mbps upstream (via cable tv connections)

hellegennes at 2012-10-24 12:38 wrote:
"Now that I own ny own place, I have a super-duper-broadband."

My faith in humanity is restored. :p

Kalah at 2012-10-23 21:31 wrote:
Just for the record: the reason I only had a slow connection was that I rented the place and had limited options for installing a connection. A USB connection can be used anywhere. Now that I own ny own place, I have a super-duper-broadband. :)

hellegennes at 2012-10-23 20:33 wrote:

What's going on outside Europe? Seems like you live in the Internet middle ages. :p
Do all ISP's have traffic limits in Australia? We used to have such limits, when DSL was first introduced, but we're about 10 years past that, now.

Campaigner at 2012-10-23 20:05 wrote:
Hey Kalah, you live in one of those northern fishing villages where you cut fish all day?? I thought you used Swedes for that :p

Norway is one of the richest countries in the world! You should have 100/10Mbit in the major cities and 10/2Mbit in smaller cities.

Myself I live in the third biggest city in Sweden and I have Fibre of 25/10Mbit.
That means 3Mbyte/s down and 1.25Mbyte up.

Funny thing is, when downloading things of STEAM, it goes faster of the Danish servers than the Swedish ones ^^

My major complaint about always online is games & services that kicks you out if your connection goes down for just a few seconds!!
Spin at 2012-10-23 10:18 wrote:
Speed doesn't matter that much since at the worst (in modern terms), something might take overnight to download.

The larger issue is definitely (for us in Australia, at least) download limits, whereby you not only pay for your speed, but how much you can download/upload per month. Often a 2.5 gig patch swallows up a sizeable portion of my download limit, as does downloading a 15 gig game on Steam.

Luckily Heroes VI isn't a bad offender when it comes to this, FPS's have become ridiculous right now, it's a guaranteed 2 gigabytes + for a new patch.

Angelspit at 2012-10-22 19:45 wrote:
I just realized H6 is the first game of the series I never saw in a store in Canada (Future Shop, EB Games, Best Buy, ...). I'm a big fan of digital distribution for many reasons, but for such an old franchise, the lack of a box in a display feels like something is missing.

hellegennes at 2012-10-22 19:08 wrote:
@Qurqirish Dragon:

You have a DSL connection at only 384 kbps? I didn't even know that these still exist.

Loco Blutaxt at 2012-10-22 16:08 wrote:
@Ell1e: The pack in our local stores contain only a code with wich you can unlock the DLC-content. The content itself was coming with one of the patches (1.5 I think, but I'm not shure).
The DVD in the box only contains extras like wallpapers, videos, music,...

Ell1e at 2012-10-22 06:49 wrote:
I've seen both DLC packs as buyable CDs in my local Saturn (German media store), so I assume it's available elsewhere, but that was only after the second one came out, so i guess it's a recent thing. They're definitely on Amazon.

Kalah at 2012-10-22 05:40 wrote:
Thanks for making my point. The game is available in stores like Amazon, but not everywhere and only the game, not the DLCs.

Qurqirish Dragon at 2012-10-21 23:57 wrote:
I still don't have a fast broadband connection (I'm on DSL, so it takes 6-7 hours to download 1 GB- assuming I don't use my connection for anything else during that time), and since the game is only available via download (if it is available in stores, I've never seen a copy), I cannot even get the game, let alone play it.

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