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Thousands of YouTube and PlayStation Network users experience service outages

The news: YouTube and Sony’s PlayStation Network went dark for thousands of users Tuesday as an overloaded network infrastructure continues to take its toll on high-bandwidth services. 

More on this: Various Alphabet video services were disrupted for 10,000 users who were unable to log in, switch accounts, or access the menu and navigation for YouTube, YouTube TV, YouTube Music, and devices, per The Verge.

Similarly, Downdetector tracked complaints from 13,000 Sony PSN users who found themselves receiving errors when they tried to connect to the service, online games, or the PlayStation store on their PS4 and PS5 consoles. 

  • While seemingly unrelated, the outages affected high-traffic and high-bandwidth services streaming HD and 4K video and interactive games.
  • In YouTube’s case, streaming or casting to TVs, set-top boxes, or game consoles didn’t work, with “no internet connection” errors interrupting video playback.
  • Sony’s PSN outage comes on the heels of PS5 and PS4 system updates last month, when a similar outage affected players of FIFA, GTA V, and Destiny 2.
  • As of this writing, YouTube and Sony have not disclosed the cause of their respective outages.

The problem: Frequent service outages for streaming and gaming services are likely due to user growth and increasing availability of higher-resolution content.

  • We’re seeing an unprecedented shift toward streaming video services, with nearly every network or cable channel releasing subscription-based plus services.
  • Similarly, console and PC games are increasing in complexity and require more bandwidth. In context, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Sony’s PS5 consoles are 4K native.
  • Recent outages have also been taking longer to resolve, indicating growth is quickly becoming unmanageable. 

The bigger picture: While video service and gaming outages might seem like a minor annoyance to end-users, they are a symptom of a concerning connectivity trend that could get worse before it gets better.