Today, Sony said it’s working with internet providers in Europe to manage PlayStation download traffic now that social distancing has brought more people online than ever. Players might experience slower game downloads during this time.
“We believe it is important to do our part to address Internet stability concerns as an unprecedented number of people are practising social distancing and are becoming more reliant on Internet access,” Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, wrote in a blog post today. “Players may experience somewhat slower or delayed game downloads but will still enjoy robust gameplay.”
Google and Netflix have announced similar policies to try to limit the amount of data their video streaming services use, as more and more people remain inside following national lockdowns as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic. Following requests from European leaders, Netflix turned off its highest bandwidth streams, while Google had Youtube videos default to standard definition. Today, Google announced it would be expanding that policy to the rest of the globe.
Last week, both Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Nintendo’s Switch Online networks experienced outages. The eShop was offline for almost nine hours last Tuesday, just as the European workday was starting. However, neither company has confirmed if increased usage had anything to do with the downtime. Today, the head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, did say that Microsoft is seeing “an unprecedented demand for gaming from our customers right now.”
Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Update: 12:31 p.m. ET, 3/17/20: In an update on the PlayStation Blog Sony now says it will be extending the slowdown to the U.S. as well.