Comcast Today: Xfinity’s Misleading Game Commercial

The game with no lag time on the Internet? There's no online version yet.

Straight to headlines today:

Comcast received some scathing Reddit criticism for trying to appeal to game nerds in a recent commercial. In a commercial for Comcast’s Xfinity wifi, set in an Xfinity booth in a shopping mall, “gamers” complain about how slow their Internet is (the word buffering was thrown around.) A Comcast employee then swoops in and tells them about how awesome Comcast wifi is in comparison. They then try out the new game Trials Fusion using Comcast’s Xfinity. “There’s certainly no lag at all!” a customer exclaims.Problem is, Trials Fusion, a motorcycle racing game, does not have an online multiplayer mode yet. The just-released version, which they are playing, is a local cooperative game right now without an online function—meaning there would never be a situation where gamers are experiencing lag. (Tech Void)

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on Thursday continued to stump against Comcast’s proposed $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable in an appearance at the Code Conference. Hastings accused Comcast of wanting to become the post office, a big national monopoly. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts took his own shots when he took the stage at the Code Conference on Wednesday, saying Netflix just does not want to bear the costs of the massive volume of Internet traffic that its subscribers generate. Netflix paid for postage to ship DVDs to subscribers, it should pay for traffic, Roberts said. (USA Today)

Hastings has been on the record before saying that the Comcast/TWC merger is a terrible idea. When asked why he and his company have been such staunch and solo voices against the Comcast merger and for net neutrality, Hastings readily admitted that it was in the company’s best interests to do so. But, he added, someone has to: “Someone has to stand up for what’s important. We’re raising the question –- [Comcast will] have 40 percent of residential Internet – what does it mean when one company has that kind of control?Data caps, higher prices, and even tighter control, that’s what. Netflix doesn’t see Comcast as the competition; that place is reserved for content companies like HBO. But it does need to get to viewers to succeed. And for that, it needs Comcast. (Consumerist)

With more than 800,000 North American customers, Vivint is in the vanguard of what might be called Technarians at the Gate — tech, cable, even phone companies — that have begun to cast a covetous eye on the utility industry’s customers and revenue by exploiting the portals that they already have into tens of millions of American homes. Google Inc. with its recent purchase of Nest Labs Inc.; Comcast Corp. with a pilot project to sell electricity with its cable packages; AT&T Inc. entering the smart thermostat business — they and others are moving into positions that portend a challenge from companies with deep balance sheets to the 100-year-old regulated utility model. (

The Center for Public Integrity found that only 36.1% of low-income people who live in Comcast’s service areas are actually eligible to take part in the Internet Essentials program. And of those eligible to participate, a measly 300,000 have actually signed up since the program first launched back in 2011. And this isn’t an issue that simply has to do with lack of demand, either. A Washington Post report from earlier this month documents how many people who have tried to take part in the program have found it difficult to sign up for. Among other things, Comcast is telling low-income customers who are already Comcast subscribers that the plan is for new subscribers only and it’s rejecting customers from participating in the program if they’ve ever had any unpaid bills with the company, even if they’re “as little as $53 from a decade ago.” In other words, it looks like Comcast’s Internet Essentials program isn’t quite the boon to blue-collar America that Comcast is making it out to be. (BGR)