Free-to-play games are rife with microtransactions. Want a nice hat? Pay for it. Want a cool mount? Pay for it. Want a leveling boost? Pay for it? Want decent internet speed? Pay for it. Wait, what?
That’s basically what’s alleged in a lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general against Time Warner Cable — which later merged with Charter Spectrum — which alleges that the cable provider is “fraudulent and deceptive” in its practices regarding the advertising of its internet speeds. I know, a cable company misleading customers is huge news…
With regards to gaming, however, things get even worse. When demand became too high, and speeds too slow, Spectrum refused to upgrade its infrastructure until Riot Games and Netflix paid them to do so:
Once Netflix and Riot Games agreed to pay Spectrum for access to its customers, performance improved. Meanwhile, it took the FCC’s Open Internet Order to solve the issues between Spectrum and [internet backbone provider] Cogent.
“[Spectrum] lined its pockets by intentionally creating bottlenecks in its connections with online content providers, despite knowing that these negotiating tactics would create problems for its subscribers in accessing online content.”
That quote comes from the NY attorney general’s brief on the lawsuit, which you can read here. You can also read Polygon’s summary of the events here. If you’ve got lots of time to kill — say, longer than a typical League of Legends match — you can read the 87-page suit as it was filed here. The suit could result in a settlement of hundreds of millions of dollars, so you’d better believe that it will be going on for a long time.