- Stadia is Google’s ambitious new video game streaming service. The platform will able to deliver games to computers, smartphones and Chromecast devices at 4K resolution, with the highest possible graphics settings.
- Because Stadia is entirely cloud-based, it uses a significant amount of data to maintain a stable picture and responsive controls.
- At the best possible quality, Stadia will use 35 Mbps of data per second, or about 15.75GB per hour. At Google’s recommended minimum quality, Stadia will use about 4.5GB per hour.
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Stadia, Google’s new video game streaming service, is planning to make expensive consoles a thing of the past. The platform will rely on cloud computing to stream games directly to your computer, smartphone, or Chromecast device, with peak performance surpassing the strongest gaming consoles on the market, the Xbox One X and the PlayStation 4 Pro.
However, Stadia will require a strong and stable internet connection to reach the best possible quality. Google says Stadia will be able to stream 4K video with high dynamic range colours, 60 frames of animation per second, and 5.1 surround sound. Streaming Stadia in 4K require an internet speed of at least 35 Mbps; Google’s recommended minimum for using Stadia is 10 Mbps, which will deliver 720p video with stereo sound.
The average download speed for American households using broadband internet in 2018 was 96.25 Mbps, according to Ookla, a firm that monitors and analyses internet throughput. The global average is less than half of that, at 46.12 Mbps. The average mobile download speed for Americans is 27.33 Mbps, significantly closer to the worldwide average of 22.82 Mbps on mobile.
While most people wont have a problem meeting Stadia’s speed requirements, dozens of internet service providers, including Comcast and AT&T, place monthly limits on how much data their customers can use. Comcast and AT&T cap millions of users at one terabyte of data per month, and going beyond that can lead to additional charges or the cancellation of your service.
As PC Gamer pointed out, using Stadia at 4K for 65 hours would use up to a terabyte of data. This means users with Comcast or AT&T could only play for about two hours per day during the month before reaching their data cap. That’s before factoring in other online services like Netflix, or the usual app downloads and updates for your phone. Stadia will likely take a toll on cellular data plans as well, since streaming in 720p at 10 Mbps will still use roughly 4.5GB per hour.
Stadia’s speed requirements are just a bit more demanding than other streaming video services. For example, Netflix requires 25 Mpbs for 4K video. Most home internet connections will be up for the task; but trying to use services like Netflix and Stadia at the same time could create a drain on your internet speeds and impact your quality of play.
Given the amount of time that players need to invest to complete a game, which is often 20 hours or more, Stadia’s data usage is certainly something to consider. Thankfully, most American internet connections are stable enough to sustain the platform at maximum quality and games on Stadia still feel responsive.
Stadia will still need to convince gamers that the online-only platform is a sufficient replacement for having an Xbox One, PlayStation 4 or gaming PC at home. Google’s service will be ready in November, but you’ll need to pre-order the $US129 founder’s pack to play on Stadia during its first three months. A free version of Stadia will launch in February 2020.
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