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YouTube, part of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, has announced that it will be setting the video quality for all viewers to “standard” (480p) in order to relieve some of the bandwidth stress being placed on the world’s internet connections. Although viewers will see that all videos have been set to standard definition, videos that can be viewed in high-definition are still available by selecting the high-definition toggle.
The move comes in the wake of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that has seen many countries and millions of people across the world ordered to shelter in place. With more people staying home, popular video streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Twitch, and YouTube have seen enormous jumps in viewership and bandwidth usage. YouTube is attempting to relieve the stress.
According to a report by Bloomberg, European regulators have already asked these streaming services, including Amazon Prime Video to reduce their bandwidth usage.
YouTube recently entered into a multi-year deal with Blizzard Activision that gives the streaming platform exclusive streaming rights to both the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League as well as Hearthstone and World of Warcraft competitions.
Riot Games’ League of Legends is also a mainstay on the channel, along with Rainbow Six Siege, Rocket League, and others, such as mobile games that are underrepresented on Twitch but perform well on YouTube. The Clash Royale League, for example, has broadcast exclusively on YouTube for its first two years.
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