This past week, both Netflix and YouTube lowered the default quality of their videos in order to help guarantee support for the increased number of connections online from those stuck at home with little to do beyond online entertainment. Sony too announced lower download speeds for Europe and North America to serve the same purpose. Now, however, Sony has increased its precautions, announcing that it will be lowering download speeds worldwide.
Since the coronavirus has led to an unprecedented number of people staying at home without work to do, video games have made their way to the forefront of the cultural zeitgeist. While this has led to some historic numbers, like a new record for most concurrent Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players online at once, the other side of that coin has meant slower servers and connections, due to the impact of heightened numbers of those online.
Explaining this decision, Sony stated that while game downloads will become slower, gameplay will ideally be unaffected. The change was made in service of ensuring stable internet connections for the many currently gaming online, so it makes sense to throttle only download speeds rather than connections necessary to facilitate competitive gameplay in online multiplayer games.
Since there’s currently no way to predict how long the coronavirus will necessitate lockdown orders in the many countries currently enacting them, it’s impossible to say how long Sony and other online services will continue to implement these changes. However, given that the alternative could be internet outages, slower downloads are doubtlessly preferable to the many at home currently relying on the internet for things to do.
Next week Persona 5: Royal and the remake of Resident Evil 3 will both be released on the Playstation Store, with Resident Evil including an asymmetrical online multiplayer companion game titled Resident Evil: Resistance. While getting these and other new titles from the PS store onto home consoles may be a slower process, RE: Resistance could end up, similarly to Call of Duty: Warzone, becoming a popular online title simply due to its arrival in a time of quarantine. How this and other Playstation services will continue to be impacted by responses to the coronavirus is something that will only be revealed with time.
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