What's Got Eidos' Ian Livingstone Seeing Red?

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What's Got Eidos' Ian Livingstone Seeing Red?

A recent Ars Technica interview with Eidos President Ian Livingstone posed an unexpected objection to something that, seemingly, only has a little to do with gaming technology. But when you look more closely at the problem Livingstone has, it starts making a lot of sense.

Specifically, Livingstone's problem isn't with console makers, or with mobile device makers, or even with PC makers. Livingstone's problem is with ISPs--Internet Service Providers--whose lack of bandwidth is starting to interfere with development.

Because of this, Livingstone even projected that the next generation of consoles will still be disc-based, because there simply isn't enough room on the connections being provided to go to a completely digital / download-based delivery system.

While bandwidth generally isn't expanding, and ISPs are looking more in terms of either limiting users' access or forcing users to pay more for more access, game developers are making bigger and bigger games. Bandwidth caps aren't exactly conducive to game development, and game companies like Eidos are starting to have much the same problem that ISP subscribers have been having for quite some time: they're chafing against the upper limits. Speeds and total bandwidth alike are wearing against both service providers, who want to put out all the goodies that paying customers could ever ask for, and consumers, who want access to all those goodies.

There are a growing number of forces, representing a growing amount of dollars, that are arraying themselves against the ISPs. Will they stand up and provide the services that those against them want? Will competitors emerge to eat their lunches? Or will the consumers of bandwidth accept the limits placed on them? Only time will tell which market forces are superior, but it's a safe bet that better bandwidth may be coming up soon.
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