Sony Slows PlayStation Download Speeds To Preserve Bandwidth

Crystal Mills

Sony Interactive Entertainment (NYSE: SNE) said Friday that PlayStation download speeds will be slowed in the United States.

This news comes days after Sony revealed reduced download speeds in Europe. Due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, global bandwidth usage is higher than usual. Sony said it hopes to keep providing a quality source of entertainment as people settle into social distancing. 

"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," Sony President and CEO Jim Ryan wrote in a statement. 

Players could experience slower or delayed game downloads, but will still be able to enjoy "robust gameplay," Ryan said.  

"We will take similar measures in the United States, and we will continue to take appropriate action to do our part to help ensure internet stability as this unprecedented situation continues to evolve."

Due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, Sony has yet to announce when the decreased download speeds will be lifted. 

Internet Usage Spikes With Americans Indoors

It's no secret that internet traffic has been up. From January 1 to March 22, internet traffic is up 18%. According to internet performance and security company Cloudflare, the internet was built to accomodate these kind of spikes.

Matthew Prince, the CEO and co-founder of Cloudflare, told Recode the internet should be able to handle a sustained spike "for four weeks or four months or however long this heightnened period of time happens."

The internet doesn't wear out, Prince said. 

"It's not like, if you run your car for a high rate of speed for an extended period of time, it's more likely your car's gonna die. Networks don't work that way." 

In the U.S., it appears that performance hasn't significantly dropped. Other countries might not be so lucky.

In Italy, where internet infrastructure isn't as dependable, there has been a sharp decrease in speeds since the country came under government lockdown orders.

In Europe, companies like Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) have enacted quality limits in an attempt to free up bandwidth. 

While the internet isn't invincible, the dramatic surge in usage shouldn't cause it to crumble.

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