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Canadians to Buy No More Than One PS4 Game Every 2 Months?

The Playstation 4 will be offering tremendous connectivity options, including sharing video, streaming games, and downloading full titles. But how will that work in the Great White Bandwidth Capped North?

Simon Ludgate, Blogger

February 22, 2013

3 Min Read

"Within the last year, Bell and other major [Canadian] ISPs, including Rogers Communications, drastically cut the bandwidth allowances on their plans. Many customers are now capped at about 25 gigabytes per month. Additional data can cost $1 or more per GB." link

"Bell pushed for a cap as small as 25 gigabytes of transfer per month, plus a $1–2 surcharge for every GB over the limit." link

"Most Canadians [pay] an average of 50 cents per gigabyte of data." link

"Waiting for downloads[?] That's ridiculous, that's crazy! We want to get out of this madness with PlayStation 4. The games are big, they're 50GB; download isn't instantaneous. So we're making purchase available from any device, so when you're at work, you can spend a couple of moments looking at PlayStation Store and choosing a game, and straight away it starts to download at home. It may take a couple of hours but that's okay because you're still at work." link

The takeaway: Many Canadians have a bandwidth cap of 25GB. Downloadable PS4 games will be 50GB. Therefore, even if you did nothing with your internet connection other than download PS4 games, you'd only be able to download half a game each month without paying overage charges.

At a cost of 50-200 cents per gig, you're paying a premium of $25-$100 on each game you download over that half-game limit.

Now add in all the other internet functionality: sharing videos, streaming games, online multiplayer, etc... and how do you possibly fit that into 25gigs?

If Sony's going to face a major roadblock to selling the PS4 in Canada, it's going to be the same one Netflix faceplanted into: "human rights violation" level bandwidth caps.

I'll be honest. When Sony announced the new Playstation Network during their announcement, the first thing that ran through my head wasn't a social network thing, but that they were going to be offering competing internet service, ala Google Fibre. I suppose that's a sign of how bad things are in Canada, that the instant they start talking about connected features I start thinking "well how are they going to offer the internet service to actually use these features?"

I wonder if Sony ever considered this problem? Did it ever occur to them that a developed country like Canada, featuring the third largest video game industry after Japan and the USA (wiki), would have such crippling internet restrictions that would basically sink Playstation 4's very raison-d'être?

And if they did consider the problem, how did they consider it would be fixed? That Canadians would complain and ISPs would actually do anything?

(image from the Financial Post)

The sad fact is that despite complaints, restrictions have just been getting worse in Canada. And a severe lack of competition has done little to help spur the incumbants on. Frankly, as rediculous as it might sound, the idea of Sony wiring up households across Canada with fiber optic cable so they can play with their Playstation 4 seems like the most plausible solution.

Then again, Sony may just follow suit behind Netflix and eschew the Canadian market entirely.

What other solutions could there be? 

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About the Author(s)

Simon Ludgate


Simon Ludgate has worked at numerous game companies, including Strategy First, Electronic Arts, and Gameloft, as well as a journalist and radio personality with GameSHOUT Radio. He recently obtained his Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto iSchool, with a focus on Knowledge and Information Management. His areas of expertise are broad, though he has a particular interest in massively multiplayer online games, both subscription- and microtransaction-based. He currently maintains a blog at soulrift.com and can be contacted through that site. Twitter: @SimonLudgate

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