The ongoing coronavirus outbreak is starting to take its toll on the Internet, with Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, and many other tech giants being forced to reduce their bandwidth usage. Microsoft is being affected too, with the company announcing recently that it was adding some Office 365 service restrictions as usage soars.
Microsoft’s Xbox division is also willing to help during these challenging times. On March 15, Xbox head Phil Spencer tweeted that usage is up on almost everything, but Microsoft is well aware that huge game downloads could quickly break the Internet. According to an internal email seen by the New York Times, the software giant has recently asked game companies to not release big game updates during peak hours, when everyone else could use more bandwidth for critical activities.
Microsoft’s Xbox gaming business recently asked large gaming companies to release online updates of their games during off-peak hours while it helped focus on the critical internet needs of people involved in the coronavirus crisis, according to an Xbox email reviewed by The New York Times. Video game updates can require great amounts of bandwidth to download.
Xbox asked the companies to release updates in a four-hour overnight window in North America, and only from Monday through Thursday.
“Microsoft is actively monitoring performance and usage trends to ensure we’re optimizing service for our customers worldwide, and accommodating new growth and demand,” the company said. “At the same time, these are unprecedented times, and we’re also taking proactive steps to plan for these high-usage periods.”
During this console generation, we've seen AAA games like Gears of War 4 of Red Dead Redemption 2 reach a massive 100GB size, while service games like Fortnite or Call of Duty get new patches every two weeks or so. Whether you're a gamer and remote worker, we're probably all starting to realize that the Internet is just as essential as water at electricity, and any disruption of service could have devastating consequences. If you have any pending updates on your console, it may be a good thing to space them out a little bit, Internet users across the world will thank you.