The Federal Communication Commission's vote to repeal net neutrality laws could have a serious impact on esports in the future. And Counter Logic Gaming COO and former Twitch head of esports Nick Allen told theScore esports it could have been a huge blow to esports if the laws were repealed years ago.
"What happens if [there was no] net neutrality, or there was much more exploitation of the lack of net neutrality years ago, when Twitch and Justin.tv were just getting started?" Allen said. "[What if] they couldn't afford to pay for the fast lanes, there was bandwidth limitation, which meant that fans couldn't watch the esports games that they wanted. Or they were really laggy or the quality was really bad, because these rules weren't in place.
"It could have literally stifled the entire industry. It could have resulted in no one watching, no one caring, and this industry floundering and not doing anything and not being where it is today."
The FCC's repeal of net neutrality earlier today could result in a full repeal of the laws that prevent internet service providers from charging more or less money to consumers to access certain sites. A full repeal would also allow ISPs to charge individual websites to access "fast lanes" that would let their websites load faster for internet users.
But net neutrality wouldn't have just impacted esports' past, it also has major implications on esports' future. Allen said that a full repeal could slow down esports' growth tremendously.
"Net neutrality is important for innovation in the space, it is important for innovation around the internet, making sure that the big guys have competitors, making sure that new innovative companies are coming up and able to accomplish the things that they need to at a reasonable cost to have access to their user base and provide quality service," Allen said. "And without those things, we will just have the status quo. Esports was born out of a defiance of the status quo, something completely different and new that didn't exist.
"I think net neutrality is a critically important part to innovation, it's critically important to the growth of this industry as new technology emerges, as new ways to consume content emerge, that help to benefit esports help to benefit CLG, my organization, and the players therein."
Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.