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Sony slowing PlayStation Network downloads to reduce stress on internet

Reduced PSN download speeds in the U.S. and Europe

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the PlayStation button icons flying across a blue background Photo: Samit Sarkar/Polygon
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Sony Interactive Entertainment is reducing download speeds from its PlayStation Network in an effort to “help preserve access for the entire internet community” while people are self-isolating and relying on internet access more and more for daily life. SIE president and CEO Jim Ryan announced the move on the PlayStation Blog on Tuesday, saying it is working with internet service providers in the United States and Europe, in an effort to “ensure internet stability” during the coronavirus pandemic.

“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,” Ryan said. His statement implied that bandwidth used for multiplayer and other networking features wouldn’t be affected.

“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.”

Sony’s move follows similar efforts from streaming providers like Netflix, YouTube, Disney Plus, Amazon, and Apple to lower video quality in an attempt to reduce strain on Europe’s internet infrastructure.

Update (March 27): On Friday, Sony announced it plans to reduce download speeds for PlayStation Network users in the United States as well as Europe. This story has been updated to reflect the change. Here’s Sony’s statement:

Beginning today, 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. We are grateful for the role we play in helping deliver a sense of community and entertainment in these very trying times. Thank you again for your support, your patience, and for being part of the PlayStation community. Please stay home and stay safe.

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