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People love Game of Thrones, that's no secret. Not only is the series delivering strong ratings in its fourth season already, but apparently, it's setting records due to its popularity among people who prefer their HBO free (or pirated, if you want to get technical about it). Game of Thrones bested its own record this week when a single copy of Season 4's "The Lion and the Rose" episode made its way online and more than 193,000 people shared it.
Just to be clear, that's 193,418 people sharing the exact same file, according to Torrent Freak. The site goes on to report that an estimated 1.5 million people downloaded some version of the episode during the first day. Game of Thrones actually broke its own record for most people sharing a single file simultaneously. The Season 3 finale held the honor formerly, with 171,572 people sharing that file. Noting the series' growing popularity, TorrentFreak suggests that the new record will be broken soon enough, possibly surpassing the 200,000 mark with a future episode.
When we conside the massive popularity of the series and the cost of an HBO subscription, which is tacked on to the cost of a required cable package in order to have HBO, it's not entirely surprising that Game of Thrones would be "shared" so much that it would break a record.
Meanwhile, interest in the series may also be putting a strain on HBO's streaming service HBO Go. As reported by Business Week, the network posted a polite warning to fans that there might be a delay in getting Sunday night's episode up on HBO Go, and encouraging fans to watch it live...
That assumes that all HBO Go users can watch it live, as it's well known that at least some HBO Go users might be "borrowing" a friend or relative's password...
The anticipated delay for last Sunday night's episode wouldn't be the first time HBO Go's had service issues during a big night. The service had some loading problems last month when the finale of True Detective aired.
It's unclear if the recent HBO Go issues are directly related to the service being overwhelmed by users or whether or not it's an indication that HBO Go is being pushed beyond capacity by subscribers and friends-of-subscribers alike, but given the possibility of a link, it seems worth mentioning.