Stay at home orders and local lockdown amid the coronavirus outbreak have caused internet traffic to skyrocket as people turn to online entertainment in their homes to fill the social void. Gaming has seen a particularly large increase, with Italian internet even being stretched to its limits thanks in part to Fortnite and Call of Duty Warzone. Many companies have started putting measures in place to ease the burden on the internet, such as Netflix and YouTube restricting the quality of video streams to preserve bandwidth and internet stability. Sony is also doing it’s part, working with internet providers in Europe to “manage download traffic” on PlayStation consoles.
The full statement from Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan:
Playing videogames 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.
Online gaming itself doesn’t hog a lot of bandwidth, being but a small fraction of similar time spent on streaming video services, which tend to have high data usage. Downloads, however, are a different story, and choosing to download a massive game like Call of Duty Warzone can eat up a lot of internet bandwidth. From Ryan’s statement, it doesn’t look like online gameplay will be affected at all, but if you’re downloading a new game or an update to an old one, you could see slower speeds or delays, particularly if you live in Europe. While the above statement was posted on the US PlayStation Blog as well, there is currently no indication that Sony is planning similar measures for North American PlayStation users.
The PlayStation 4 already has notoriously low download speeds for a current-gen console, capping at well under what many people’s providers are offering. Add the copying/install procedure that follows the download, which can sometimes take almost as long as the download itself, and even getting a new game or update on your console can already take away an entire evening of playing that game.
Ryan doesn’t offer any additional details about how much downloads may be throttled or what exactly is meant by “delays” and how that will be indicated to the end-user. Best practice would be to initiate PS4 game updates and downloads during off-hours and when you don’t plan on playing to ensure you can continue gaming uninterrupted.
[Source: PlayStation Blog]
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