Throughout the month, we’ve seen streaming services like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, and Disney+ all announce plans to limit or lower video quality in an effort to ease network congestion. And now, gaming companies are following suit, with Sony announcing it’s opting to slow or delay game downloads in the US after a similar move in Europe.
The idea being: With overall internet usage potentially spiking as more of us stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, easing back on video quality or game download speeds could help reduce overall network congestion, especially for vital services like first responders and healthcare providers.
“Playing video games enables players all over the world to connect with friends and family and enjoy much needed entertainment during these uncertain times,” Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, said in a blog post on the PlayStation site.
While online gameplay, including competitive multiplayer gaming, may be on the rise with many of us staying at home, that data tends to be highly efficient and tuned to have a minimal impact on network congestion. After all, connection hiccups can lead to delays or lag during gameplay, which can mean the difference between victory and defeat during an online match.
However, downloading digital game titles can have a larger impact, especially with big-name titles like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare approaching and sometimes exceeding 100GB in size. Indeed, Sony’s announcement focuses on game downloads rather than actual gameplay.
“Players may experience somewhat slower or delayed game downloads but will still enjoy robust gameplay,” Ryan said.
Of course, the pandemic and its impact on internet access and other services continues to evolve, and we’ll keep you informed as companies announce more measures to help ease congestion.
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