Comcast Commercial Promotes Fast WiFi To Gamers… To Play Game With No Online Connection

from the because-comcast-thinks-you're-an-idiot dept

Comcast continues its efforts to present itself as one of the most out of touch and ridiculous companies out there, with a new commercial directed at videogamers, highlighting how fast Comcast’s in-game WiFi is.

Note how it’s addressed to “real gamers.” Just one problem, as “Mr. Comcast” goes on about how there’s “no buffering” and how much better the video gaming experience is with Comcast’s Xfinity WiFi, people pointed out that the game in question has no online play. The game is Ubisoft’s Trials Fusion, which means that there’s no reason there would be any buffering at all in the first place.

Mr. Comcast gets the gamers playing Trials Fusion. The game is indeed a shiny new title, released on PC and for the major gaming consoles (Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4) just a few weeks ago. The motorcycle tricks-and-racing game launched to generally positive reviews that lauded its mechanics and features. But reviewers also mentioned one notable feature that the game does not have: an online multiplayer mode.

No online mode, no net connection. No network connection, no network lag.

“Do you notice any buffering?” Mr. Comcast then asks.

The gamers happily reply that they do not! And of course they don’t: the game ships on a disc or as a one-time digital download. It’s not on a streaming or cloud service like a Netflix or YouTube video; there’s nothing to buffer. That would be akin to asking if you see Microsoft Word buffering when you type a report on your work computer. Your software might be running slowly, but “buffering” is definitely not the issue.

As Re/code points out, this doesn’t exactly help Comcast’s reputation. And, if you want some amusement, this Reddit comment thread can’t be beat:

It really takes a special kind of cluelessness to target “real gamers” with an ad so ridiculously misleading, and which those very same “real gamers” will almost immediately call out as bogus.

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Companies: comcast, ubisoft

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Comments on “Comcast Commercial Promotes Fast WiFi To Gamers… To Play Game With No Online Connection”

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LivingInNavarre (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I went to cable last year (UVerse – ugh) and even bumped the speed up to a whopping 21Mbit 2 months ago. Now I’m missing my DSL.

Could someone explain why webpages load slower on cable? I feel like I’m back in the dial-up days. Ever since I went cable it seems all I ever see is that damn spinning circle when I click a link. I can light a cig and take a swig of coffee before the page starts to load.

I can walk over to my parents house which is still a 3.5Mbit ADSL line and get the same if not faster page loads.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I can tell you one possibility. Cable is a much bigger pipe but has many more people on the same switch. ADSL service degrades rapidly over a certain distance (I forget what the actual distance is) which actually limits the number of connections per switch. So although cable is inherently faster, it is much more susceptible to being slowed down at peak usage times than ADSL.

Gaming_Geek (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“I went to cable last year (UVerse – ugh) and even bumped the speed up to a whopping 21Mbit 2 months ago. Now I’m missing my DSL.

Could someone explain why webpages load slower on cable? I feel like I’m back in the dial-up days. Ever since I went cable it seems all I ever see is that damn spinning circle when I click a link. I can light a cig and take a swig of coffee before the page starts to load.

I can walk over to my parents house which is still a 3.5Mbit ADSL line and get the same if not faster page loads.”

On a cable connection, your modem shares the cable line with every other modem on the node. Each modem has a specified “timeslot” to send data in. Sometimes, modems coming online or modems slightly off in their timing send packets at the wrong time and cause your packets to have errors. The CMTS (device your cable modem connects to)sees these as codeword errors. There is an algorithm used to try and fix errored packets. If the packet cannot be fixed an uncorrectable notice is sent to your modem and the packet resends. On overloaded/poorly designed/problomatic nodes, this can cuase multiple retransmissions of packets, which will slow down your webpage loads somewhat at times. Your parents DSL is a straight shot from their modem to the local DSLAM (device ADSL modems connects to) and not shared usually.

Also, if your cable provider is small, their DNS server they use might not be as efficient as one being used by the local ADSL provider. Try using Google (I know I know) DNS and see if that helps. Their DNS is

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Considering my $30/mo DSL line is 6mbit – I wouldn’t say it “makes carrier pigeons look good” It’s by no means stellar, but it’s plenty to watch Netflix, or use a modern website.

It’s also has no monthly caps, and is run by – meaning I actually have some slim guarantee of privacy and net neutrality.

It doesn’t matter anyhow, since Comcast doesn’t run cable out to my house – I’m actually pretty fortunate that the DSLAM is close enough to my house to get a full 6mbit (over an AT&T circuit), as opposed to the 3mbit, or even worse, 1.5mbit offerings.

I do have to contact once or twice a year to force them to fix the shitty AT&T circuits in my areas, but it’s still better than the IDSL i was stuck with years back at 144kbps for $120/mo.

Love how people always knock DSL – when a good DSL provider and a solic circuit can actually be cost effective and useful.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I was on an AT&T dsl until about 4 months ago. Same thing – 6 mbit and worked just fine for most things. I suddenly dropped to 1 mbit most of the time and could not even play Netflix movies. When I managed to get an AT&T rep on the phone they said that they were rolling out UVerse and that caused the dsl to drop in speed in the area – and, oh yeah, ‘would you like to upgrade?’.

So, Comcast looked like a better option for me.

Some actual competition would be REALLY nice.

Shmerl says:

Remote gaming

May be they imply that the game can be “streamed” in realtime fashion. That can use network without any multilayer. I.e. imagine the game running on the server, and sending the image to the user, while getting back the input. I’m not sure though that current networks can allow such low latency that would make responsiveness of such scenario good enough.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Remote gaming

There is a reason no one does this. It isn’t efficient and it is prone to problems for no good reason. Even in multi-player games servers don’t need the video content – AT ALL. They just need the player input and state information so that it can relate the interaction back to all players. Even if you had enough bandwidth available to do this it would be unnecessarily wasteful.

Shmerl says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Remote gaming

The fact that no one does that doesn’t mean it’s not possible if the network is fast enough. It’s workable in local networks where proximity to the server is low. For example it should be pretty doable in a LAN running one beefy server and several thin clients.

Shmerl says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Remote gaming

As I wrote, bandwidth isn’t the main blocker, but latency is. It’s not really about saving storage. Games demand high end hardware (like CPU/GPU etc.). Making server side rendering sending the image and sound only reduces hardware requirements on the client side.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Remote gaming

“Graphics rich 3D games can be completely unusable on a thin client unless the updated screen area is kept very small or the overall screen resolution is very low, to reduce the amount of data sent to the client.”

Yes, there are ways to attempt to deal with that that also increase latency issues. But like I said, there is a reason why no one does this with games.

zip says:

The Dilbert Principle

That’s funny!

I noticed long ago that the people who tend to occupy senior management positions in a company, as well as those who staff advertising, tend to be among the least technically-oriented of people.

But even then, would it have been too hard for Comcast to have put together a ‘focus’ group of actual gamers to get some honest input before trumpeting Comcast’s “success”?

Gaming_Geek (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“It is just as useful as turning customers boxes into public wifi hotspots while claiming it won’t slow the consumer down”

As a Comcast customer, I check on this when I was made a public wifi place. Prior to this happening, my modem only used 4 downstream channels. Afterwards, my modem used 8 downstream channels (my original 4, and 4 for the public wifi), so that is a true statement to make technically. Of course, if you factor in extra processing on the modem/router( you now have your network and the public wifi network on the same modem/router sending/receiving traffic), then it does slow you down just a bit since you now have to process the public wifi traffic as well.

Michael (profile) says:

This is not the fault of management, it was a communication breakdown between marketing and the technical group at Comcast.

The marketing group asked the technical group to help them find a game that would play smoothly without any buffering for the ad. The technical group couldn’t find an online game that didn’t studder horribly so they had to go with something that didn’t need Comcast’s crappy network.

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

The Inevitable Extension of Net Neutrality Games to Shopping.

Here is a related item. It seems that a corporate landlord of student apartments heard about Brian Roberts’ pronouncements, and decided to get in on the act. However, what the landlord wanted to block was not video, but internet shopping. Internet shopping is both low-bandwidth and high-latency-tolerant. I can use Amazon perfectly well over dial-up access. However, internet shopping does involve a fair amount of money, much more than video services do. The idea was that the real estate company would take a percentage on purchases of textbooks, electronics, clothing, etc. Someone in the real estate company who saw how dumb and criminal the idea was, leaked it to Slashdot, and that will presumably be the end of the matter.

Incidentally, if Brian Roberts wants to call himself a postmaster, he should be aware of the case of David L. Carslake, of the Frosty Treats company, back in 2007. Reduced to essentials, the defendant, Carslake, recruited Russian guest-workers on false pretenses, employed them as ice-cream-truck drivers, housing them in apartments controlled by a confederate (six of them in a one-bedroom apartment), and, by fraud and terror, sought to reduce them to a condition of slavery. When the immigrants filed for working papers, in order to find another employer, they were obliged, presumably for want of any alternative address, to use their employer’s address. Carslake intercepted mail sent to the immigrants by the United States government, in order to hang onto his labor force. There are serious penalties attached to diverting mail. Carslake thought his Russian guest-workers had no rights he was bound to respect. The FBI had to teach him different. He pled guilty to Obstruction of Mail, presumably in a plea bargain to avoid more serious charges. The prosecutor accepted the plea as the most expedient means to ensure that the Russian guest-workers didn’t have to go back to Russia with nothing to show for their summer’s work.

Eric Barton, “Federal Heat Melts Ice Cream Man,” The Fast Pitch, Tue, Sep 11, 2007 at 12:54 PM
“Ice cream company forced to end foreign workers program,” Southeast Missourian, Thursday, June 5, 2008

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