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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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Violynne (profile), Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 11:34am

    This video makes me wonder: who's the target customer in the monopoly-controlled area it will be played?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 11:58am

    The sad thing is: this will probably fool the genuine idiot population who believe that the game would be unplayable without Comcast internet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 12:06pm

    Re:

    Which is the actual target market. Comcast knows what it's doing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 12:06pm

    But then again...

    It IS a Ubisoft title, so perhaps the buffering they are referring to is some useless DRM that requires an Internet connection for a game without any other need for an Internet connection.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 12:09pm

    Re: But then again...

    Ubisoft DRM might be bad, but not *that* bad.

    (I never would have thought I will write a line in some for of defense for DRM... DAMN YOU, COMCAST!)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    OldGeezer (profile), Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 12:15pm

    Disabled Comments

    They disabled comments on this video because they knew everyone would call out their bullshit!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 12:17pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    zip, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 12:21pm

    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"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    James Thompson, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 12:22pm

    Re:

    I don't think is meant for customers. I think this is meant to show the FCC that they care and are working towards a better world.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 12:26pm

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

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 12:27pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 12:30pm

    In keeping with the standards of the gaming industry

    This is just another Big Lie. It works for Ubisoft, it works for Sony, it works for EA, it works for Microsoft, it'll work for Comcast.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 12:39pm

    Re:

    and while it is going to get mocked by gamers, it's not like they have a choice other than Comcast since the only other option most of them have is a dsl that makes carrier pigeons look good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, at least comcast implements standards like IPoAC (RFC 1149)!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    LivingInNavarre, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 12:51pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Gaming_Geek (profile), Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 12:56pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Rob, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Try a different name server. Apparent speed of TWC went up a lot when I changed to Google's name servers (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4) from theirs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 1:01pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    Gaming_Geek (profile), Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 1:03pm

    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 8.8.8.8.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 1:37pm

    Re:

    So, the US regulators, then?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 1:53pm

    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 Sonic.net - 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 Sonic.net 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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Remote gaming

    Do you actually believe that was what Comcast setup for this demonstration?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: Remote gaming

    Well, that fits the context pretty well. But I doubt they mean that because as I said, the latency wouldn't be acceptable anyway most probably.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 2:33pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 2:34pm

    Re: But then again...

    Look at how fast DRM calls home!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Re: But then again...

    THAT would be an awesome basis for someone to make a hysterical parody commercial.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    Keroberos (profile), Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    That sounds like a latency issue (ping time), not a bandwidth one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    Keroberos (profile), Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    That sounds like a latency issue (ping time), not a bandwidth one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Remote gaming

    There is virtually no upside to doing it regardless of whether it is possible or not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Remote gaming

    The upside is the same as with any other thin client scenario. User can rent server time without need to buy high end computer to play some games. It's easy to imagine a service like that (if latency would allow it). Latency is the blocker however.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 3:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Remote gaming

    Another upside is enabling playing some games on different operating systems without porting them. I.e. it's enough to port the remote client in such case.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Remote gaming

    You need more than a fast network. You need low latency as well. You can get extremely low latency in a LAN, but not as much on the internet at large.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 3:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Remote gaming

    Yes, that's why it's not practical in long range scenarios.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 3:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Remote gaming

    The graphics and sound are what is bandwidth heavy part and that stuff usually isn't platform specific. Local storage space is cheap.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 3:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    letmegooglethat (profile), Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 4:12pm

    Hello McFly

    just flag it on youtube as scam / fraud

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Rabbit80, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 4:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Remote gaming

    Works perfectly well on my nVidia Shield - though I do notice the lag if I use OnLive or the nVidia Grid beta! Streaming from my home connection the lag is not noticeable within the 50 miles I have tested it though!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Joe K, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 4:13pm

    Re:

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


    But it's perfectly consistent with Comcast's management's stated
    position: Actually
    *using* the bandwidth you've paid for is like looking for a free
    ride.
    .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 6:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thin_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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 6:41pm

    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.

    http://ask.slashdot.org/story/14/06/01/1343246/ask-slashdot-taking-a-new-tack-on-net-neutrali ty

    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.

    ==========================================================================
    http://freshare.net/a rticle/kcs_frosty_treats_to_pay_47555_to_foreign_student_workers_in_obstruction_of/
    http://www.law.um ich.edu/CLINICAL/HUTRAFFICCASES/Pages/CaseDisp.aspx?caseID=392
    http://www.justice.gov/usao/mow/news20 07/carslake.ple.htm
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Eric Barton, "Federal Heat Melts Ice Cream Man," The Fast Pitch, Tue, Sep 11, 2007 at 12:54 PM

    http://www.pitch.com/FastPitch/archives/2007/09/11/federal-heat-melts-ice-cream-man
    --------------- --------------------------------------------------------
    "Ice cream company forced to end foreign workers program," Southeast Missourian, Thursday, June 5, 2008

    http://www.semissourian.com/story/1434794.html
    -------------------------------------------------- ---------

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 7:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Remote gaming

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 7:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Remote gaming

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 7:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Remote gaming

    Even speed of light has its limits :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 8:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Remote gaming

    It does not fit the context at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 8:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Remote gaming

    Why not, all it says that there is no lag when going through WiFi :) Nothing about multilayer there. Of course they probably didn't mean streaming anyway, but it still fits if connected computers are close enough.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Jun 2nd, 2014 @ 8:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Remote gaming

    *multiplayer

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jun 3rd, 2014 @ 3:16am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2014 @ 5:23am

    Re: Disabled Comments

    thus, report the video as "Spam or misleading"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    icon
    Geno0wl (profile), Jun 3rd, 2014 @ 6:29am

    Just like Netflix

    This is basically advertising to Video Streaming crowd while putting in a Blu-Ray for playback.
    THANKS COMCAST!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2014 @ 10:01am

    Austin only

    While helping a friend shop for internet service with Comcast,
    I noticed that their "gigapower internet 300 premier internet only plan is $70.00 @month but is avail only in Austin.

    Hmmm. I wonder why that is...maybe I'll Google it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Anon, Jun 3rd, 2014 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Remote gaming

    I hope this isn't a serious question. Last time I checked you don't continually interact with the controller when a movie is streaming.

    Also, congratulations on COMPLETELY missing the point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Roger, Jun 4th, 2014 @ 11:56am

    Misleading, Reported to YouTube

    I reported the video to YouTube as "Spam or misleading" as the video totally is. The game play is not online at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2014 @ 11:02pm

    The video is removed?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2014 @ 12:09am

    Re:

    Yep.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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