In a time where most people in the world are spending an unprecedented amount of time indoors, home internet usage is at an all-time high. Everyone’s taking up the collective bandwidth, and a lot of that is being attributed to video games, whether that’s through streaming them, playing them, or, as we’re here to talk about today, downloading them, because Sony has announced PlayStation Network downloads are about to get slower for some of us.
Sony is making a move to help with the sheer amount of data being downloaded to its devices during the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, and it’s all in the name of “preserving internet access for the entire community.” In a post on the PlayStation Blog, Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan said the company will be actively slowing down download speeds for PlayStation Network in Europe, but was clear that nothing would be happening to actual online play. This means if you’re not experiencing lag while playing games online right now, you still shouldn’t after this change goes through. Here’s Ryan’s full statement:
“Playing video games enables players all over the world to connect with friends and family and enjoy much needed entertainment during these uncertain times. Sony Interactive Entertainment is working with internet service providers in Europe to manage download traffic to help preserve access for the entire internet community.
We believe it is important to do our part to address internet stability concerns as an unprecedented number of people are practicing social distancing and are becoming more reliant on internet access.
Players may experience somewhat slower or delayed game downloads but will still enjoy robust gameplay. We appreciate the support and understanding from our community, and their doing their part, as we take these measures in an effort to preserve access for everyone.”
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There’s no word on this being enacted in any other territories, but that didn’t stop people from all around the world making jokes about PlayStation’s already infamously slow download speeds, whether they were going to be affected by this or not. But as it turns out, this was basically predicted by parody account @KazHiraiCEO, which briefly returned from retirement to renew his title as the industry’s resident clairvoyant.
Netflix has restricted bitrates to limit the demand on networks caused by people staying at home due to COVID-19.
I can announce that we have taken similar precautions with PSN download speeds, except ours started over a decade ago.
— Ex-CEO Kaz Hirai (@KazHiraiCEO) March 22, 2020
Having lived in a rural area the majority of my life, my internet speeds have always been garbage, so I have a fair bit of experience with navigating an increasingly digital world with download speeds that have ranged from 3mbps to as low as 500kbps. So I can’t help but sympathize with anyone who might be affected by this. There have been several points in the past few years where I had to wait days for a sizeable AAA game to download, or missed out on playing an online game like Overwatch for a day because a patch had to download and it would take several hours.
My only real advice here is to be ready to let big files download overnight so you won’t be downloading them during your waking hours when you could be using what bandwidth you have to do anything else.