Like a lot of PS4 owners, I’m getting increasingly annoyed by the frankly woeful state of the PlayStation Network. However, recently it’s not been the frequent downtime that has me ranting, but the ridiculously slow download speeds I’ve had to contend with.
I have a fibre optic connection, and enjoy extremely fast performance on every device on my network, with the exception of the PlayStation 4. Hoping to boost the console’s performance, I even purchased a broadband extender, which connects directly to the PS4 via an Ethernet cable. This worked a treat at first but, lately, downloads have once again been crawling at a snail’s pace.
Although this has been going on for a couple of months now, what finally prompted me to write this article was the latest patch for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited. It weighs in at nearly 16 gigabytes, and obviously must be installed before you can play the online-only game. You can therefore imagine my dismay when the PS4 informed me that it would take 38 hours to download.
Naturally, I assumed something was wrong with my network, so I performed a connection test, but my download speed came back as a strong 38mb/s. A quick Google search was enough to confirm that I’m not the only one struggling to download TESO’s preposterously large PS4 patch. More importantly, I also found a potential workaround, which is simply to keep pausing and resuming the download until it gets to the type of speed you would normally expect.
Sure enough, the remaining time consequently fell from 38 hours to just 38 minutes. Unfortunately, 10 minutes (and several downloaded gigabytes) later, it shot back up to 14 hours. To my horror, after repeating the pause/resume trick, it actually increased again, to 32 hours. Thankfully, it eventually declined to 25 minutes and – after one last stumble – finally finished completely.
While frustrating, this issue might have been forgivable if it was an isolated incident; regrettably, it isn’t. Earlier this week, I also had trouble downloading the newly released Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition, which clocks in at 20 gigabytes. That game took the best part of two days to download, as sadly I didn’t discover the pause/resume fix until after it had already finished.
So, what could be causing this? There are two possibilities; either Sony’s PSN servers cannot meet the demand of its users, or there is an underlying issue with the PS4’s hardware (or a combination of both). Given my connection’s occasional bursts of speed, I’m inclined to believe that the fault is server-side. This theory is also backed up by my experience with Final Fantasy XIV’s recent expansion. The game’s 3.0 update is over 5 gigabytes, and yet took just half an hour to download on PS4. The difference? It is pulled directly from Square Enix’s servers, not the PSN.
In short, I’m essentially telling you something you likely already know; that the current state of the PlayStation Network is frankly embarrassing. Let’s not forget, nowadays it’s a premium service on PS4, so the old PS3 excuse of ‘you get what you pay for’ is no longer applicable. In the past, Sony has shown that it is eager to listen to its fans, so my hope is that the company will also listen now.
We can all clearly see that there is something seriously wrong with the PlayStation Network, and Sony absolutely has to do something about it.